Abbas says reconciliation, peace do not contradict

"We are committed to making peace," Abbas said in his first comment on the deal

RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that there is no contradiction between a reconciliation deal his group signed with the resistance movement Hamas and peace talks with Israel.

"We are committed to making peace," Abbas said in his first comment on the deal.

"An internationally and Arab-backed reconciliation will boost Palestinian negotiators on achieving the two-state solution," Abbas was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency as saying.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace, in his first comment on the Palestinian reconciliation deal.

Netanyahu said that Abbas has to choose between making peace with Israel and making peace with Hamas, describing the Islamist movement as a "terrorist" organization that wants to destroy Israel.

He was quoted by Israeli TV as adding that as the Palestinians and the Israelis talk about an extension of a peace negotiations deadline, Abbas had chosen Hamas, not peace with Israel.

Earlier Wednesday, Hamas and Fatah hammered out a reconciliation deal in the Gaza Strip, bringing to an end a rift that persisted between the two Palestinian movements since 2007.

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