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EU and Abbas should criticise Hamas not Israeli settlements, bemoans Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the international community for criticising his government's settlement policy but keeping quiet over the Palestinian President's efforts to reconcile with Hamas.

Speaking to journalists, Netanyahu contrasted Europe's condemnation of Israel for approving new settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank with its lack of response to Mahmoud Abbas, who is planning to sit around the table with Hamas leaders.


Netanyahu called his settlement building plans "normal expansion" for the residents of Israel. "When Jews build homes in the ancient capital [sic; the Old City of Jerusalem], the international community has no problem finding its voice," said the right-wing Coalition leader, "but when Palestinian leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel, the one and only Jewish [sic] state, the world is silent."

The Prime Minister referred to the speech of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Gaza at the weekend, where he called for more resistance to regain Palestinian rights from Israel's military occupation.

"There was nothing. There was silence. And it was a deafening silence. Well, we can't accept that," Netanyahu said.

He also criticised Abbas for not denouncing Meshaal's remarks and his plans to go ahead with Palestinian reconciliation talks with Hamas.

"Mahmoud Abbas failed to speak out against explicit calls for Israel's destruction by Hamas leaders on Saturday," he said. "Where was the outrage? Where were the UN resolutions? Where was President Abbas?"

Netanyahu's comments were echoed by his extreme right-ring Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

"Meshaal called for the 'liberation of Palestine from the sea to the river, north to south'," he said. "This was followed by silence from the EU and Mahmoud Abbas."

Lieberman warned that reconciliation between Abbas's Fatah Movement and Hamas "might provoke Israelis' feelings", because Meshaal said that "Hamas will not recognise Israel".

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