P.A.: Netanyahu Address a 'Declaration of War'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Senior Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "not a man of peace and did not bring anything new" in his address to the Congress.

"Talking about peace under Netanyahu's terms is a waste of time," he said.

According to Erekat, the only path to peace with Israel is the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the "1967 borders" with Jerusalem as its capital.

Erekat said Netanyahu has "no vision and nothing to offer," and the P.A. chooses unity with Hamas" rather than "lies and distortions."

The P.A. negotiator also called Netanyahu's suggestion to break off ties with Hamas "shameful."

"Netanyahu chose the past over the future, the continuation of occupation and settlements over peace," said Erekat, adding that Netanyahu's speech constituted "incitement" against Arabs.

Nabil Shaath, a senior aide to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, agreed, saying Netanyahu's insistence that Israel keep any territory that came under its sovereignty in the Six Day War tantamount to a "declaration of war against the Palestinians."

"The objective of the speech was to kill negotiations," Shaath told Israel Radio on Wednesday. He said the P.A. still intends to seek unilateral recognition of statehood at the United Nations in September.

"We don't have a partner for peace," Shaath said and dismissed Netanyahu's call to cut ties with Hamas, saying "peace is based on reconciliation."

Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said "Netanyahu denied us all our rights." Zuhri urged Palestinians to work "to adopt an Arab and Palestinian strategy based on the right of resistance."

Hamas believes armed "resistance" is a legitimate response to what it perceives as Israeli occupation of its land.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Lebanese paper al-Akhbar, Gaza-based Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said the unity deal with Fatah would not change his party's platform, the P.A.'s Ma'an news agency reported on its website.

"Reconciliation does not mean Hamas has changed its agenda," al-Zahar said.

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