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article imageIsrael says Abbas criticism of Hamas rockets was 'empty rhetoric'

By Nathan Salant     Jun 11, 2014 in World
Jerusalem - Israel characterized the Palestinian Authority's condemnation of rocket fire from Gaza as "empty rhetoric" Wednesday after Hamas radicals fired on the Jewish state for the first time since joining a unified government last week.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Unlink] said Abbas was responsible for disarming the Islamic militant group Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.
"President Abbas claims that the new Palestinian government honors all previous commitments," said the spokesman, Mark Regev, according to the Reuters news service.
"So why has he not disarmed the terrorist organizations in Gaza as he is obligated to do?" he said.
For his part, Abbas condemned the attack and urged all armed groups to hold fire so Israel would not have "any pretext" to strike back, Reuters said.
Netanyahu said Israel would hold the PA responsible for the conduct of Hamas after the unity agreement between the Palestinian factions led to the collapse of US-sponsored talks on a peace deal.
But Israel did not threaten any punitive action against Abbas as a result of the rocket attack, Reuters said.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the rockets, which Israel said struck a road near the southern city of Ashkelon and did not cause signicant damage.
Abbas promised to uphold the PA's interim peace agreements with Israel, but Jerusalem said the unity government would act as a front for Hamas, which advocates Israel's destruction.
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