Arab League, Hamas slam Israel
EGYPT: The Arab League and Islamist movement Hamas said on Sunday
Arabs should not normalise ties with Israel as long as the Jewish state
sticks to plans to build more settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
“It is impossible to speak of normalisation when Israel rejects any
significant measure,” Arab League chief Amr Mussa said at a joint news
conference in Cairo with Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal.
“Israel persists in its intransigent position and rejects every
significant measure” concerning a freeze in settlement constructions, he
His remarks came after Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said
on Sunday that the Jewish state would not give up plans to boost
settlement construction despite widespread criticism.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “will announce in the coming days
the construction of several hundred additional homes” in the occupied
West Bank, Katz, a close ally of the premier, told Israeli public radio.
The number of new housing units to be approved could range between
400 and 700, Israeli media reported.
“I don’t believe that any Arab government can offer Israel the gift
(of normalisation) on a silver platter. This issue (normalisation) must
be closed,” Mussa said.
“I believe that there will be a very violent reaction across the Arab
world should we learn that someone normalised (ties with Israel),” he
Meshaal agreed with Mussa and warned Arab countries “against giving
the Israelis the reward of normalisation.”
He also warned against US policy in the Middle East which he said
“aims bringing into alignment Arab countries against Iran, rather than
Nevertheless the Damascus-based Meshaal said that Hamas “will monitor
closely what (US President Barack) Obama will propose on the sidelines
of the UN General Assembly” later this month concerning the peace
The United States is hoping that Israel and the Palestinians can make
progress on reviving Middle East peace efforts at the General Assembly
in late September.