JERUSALEM, Israel -- An estimated 5,000 Tunisians chanting "death to Israel" cheered Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh as he promised that "difficult days" lie ahead for the Jewish state.
"Israel no longer has allies in Egypt and Tunisia," Haniyeh told the crowd in Tunisia, who were waving Palestinian, Tunisian, and Hamas flags, YNet news reported.
"It is us today who are going to build the new Middle East. We will not recognize Israel. The army of Mohammed is back," Haniyeh said as some in the crowd chanted, "Kill the Jews. It is our duty."
Rachid Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist Ennahda party, released a statement criticizing the "slogans."
"Ennahda condemns these slogans, which do not represent Islam's spirit or teachings and considers those who raised them as a marginal group," the statement read.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has tried to assure the 1,500 members of the country's Jewish community not to be fearful.
Meanwhile, leaders of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement said they are no longer sure about implementing the reconciliation pact signed with Hamas last April in Cairo, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported.
The Fatah Central Committee issued a statement saying that denying three of its senior officials entrance into the Gaza Strip last Friday was "inadequate and humiliating."
Hamas blamed Fatah for the latest crisis, accusing Abbas of putting peace negotiations with Israel ahead of reconciling the two rival factions.
"If Fatah has made a decision to backtrack from reconciliation in favor of returning to negotiation with the Zionist enemy, they should bear full responsibility for the consequences of such a decision before the Palestinian people and the Egyptian mediator," Hamas said in its statement.