Israel casts doubts over Palestinian reconciliation efforts

The Israeli prime minister has expressed concerns over Palestinian peace efforts amid a visit to the region by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas’s vow to vanquish the Jewish state vindicates Israeli reluctance to hand over the occupied West Bank.

He also used his cabinet meeting to attack the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for failing to condemn Palestinian militant rocket attacks.

“What is interesting is that he (Abbas) didn’t condemn Hamas for calling for Israel’s destruction, just as previously he didn’t condemn the rockets fired at Israel. And to my regret, he is working for unity with this same Hamas, which is supported by Iran,” said Netanyahu.

Meshaal has repeated his rallying message telling students at Gaza university that Israel would never be recognised and promising no concessions over settlement land.

Saturday’s festivities were a bid to boost Hamas’ standings after its eight-day conflict with Israel last month.

There has been little word from Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movernment but the party has congratulated Hamas over its call for unity.