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Meeting between Palestinian president, Israeli minister a ‘stab in the back’: Hamas, Islamic Jihad

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Israeli minister for military affairs Benny Gantz (Photo by Getty Images)

Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements have strongly condemned the recent meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli minister for military affairs, Benny Gantz, describing it as a “stab in the back” of the Palestinian nation and their cause.

Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif Qanou said in a statement on Monday that the meeting was “a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and what they have sacrificed. It is a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs.”

He added that the meeting reflects the continued downfall of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and the “abandonment of national values, as well as the beautification of the face of the occupation.”

Hazem Qassem, another Hamas spokesman, said that Palestinians reject and condemn the meeting, “which is strange to the national spirit of the Palestinian people.”

Qassem said such meetings show that the PA leadership continues to live under the illusion that it can achieve anything through the “failed peace process.”

Hamas spokesman also accused Abbas of “encouraging Arab countries to normalize with Israel” by meeting the senior Israeli official, noting, "This weakens the Palestinian stance that rejects normalization."

Moreover, the Islamic Jihad movement said that the meeting came against the backdrop of the “crimes of the occupation, its siege and its aggression” on the Palestinians.

“The meeting between Abbas and Gantz is a stab to our people,” said the Islamic Jihad spokesman Tareq Silmi.

He added, “The blood of the children killed by the occupation army on the orders of Gantz is still on the ground and has not dried up yet.”

Silmi accused the PA and Abbas of “turning their back on national consensus, and setting conditions that serve the occupation for the resumption of national dialogue, while they race to meet the enemy leaders and put their hands in the hands stained with innocent blood.”

Separately, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that the Abbas-Gantz meeting was a “continuation of the policy of compromising the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Eyad Awadallah, a senior PFLP official, said that the meeting was a “continuation of the policy of futile negotiations and presenting more concessions to the government of crime and killing.”

He accused Abbas of walking away from the Palestinian national consensus and violating the resolutions of Palestinian institutions that called for severing ties with Israel.

“This meeting comes in the framework of consolidating the security and economic solution by offering more economic bribes in return for preserving the security of the settlers and the occupation,” Awadallah noted.

A statement from Gantz’s office said the Israeli minister of military affairs and the Palestinian president discussed issues related to security, diplomacy, the economy and civil affairs in wide-ranging talks on Sunday night.

An official close to Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett emphasized that Gantz’s meeting with Abbas did not herald a renewal of the long-dormant "peace process" with the Palestinians.

“This is a meeting that deals with security issues. There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians nor will there be,” the official said in a statement issued to reporters on condition of anonymity.

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