The Prime Minister's Office on Thursday condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's meeting with terrorist Amna Muna, saying the meeting raises questions over Abbas's commitment to achieving peace.
Muna was convicted for the premeditated death of Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison, but was freed in October as part of the Shalit deal, and then exiled to Turkey.
"We are disappointed with the unfortunate decision of President Abbas to meet with the terrorist temptress Amna Muna who's internet trap led to the brutal murder of an innocent Israeli teen," the PMO said on its Facebook page.
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"It is shocking to see someone who tells the whole world that he seeks peace with Israel going all the way to Turkey to meet with a revolting murderer," the PMO said in a separate statement.
"Instead of promoting peace and reconciliation the Palestinian leadership seems to be putting extremist murderers up on a pedestal. This raises serious questions as to their commitment and to their desire to end the conflict," the Facebook statement concluded.
Abbas, who is visiting in Ankara, met with Muna on Tuesday night. At first the two had a tete-a-tete, followed by an expanded meeting with other freed prisoners, including Jihad Yamur, one of the abductors of Nachshon Wachsman [Israeli soldier who was kidnapped and killed by Hamas during a failed rescue attempt by Israel].
Ten years ago Muna, then aged 24, seduced 16-year-old Rahum, an Ashkelon resident, through an online chat forum. She presented herself as "Sali," a new immigrant and potential love interest, and the two arranged a meeting. When Ofir arrived at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, Muna drove him to the West Bank, where terrorists were waiting to brutally shoot him.
"Her release as part of the Shalit deal was the greatest blow to our family," the victim's father, Shalom Rahum said on Wednesday. "And now Mahmoud Abbas has delivered another blow. Abbas has made a child-murderer into a national hero. Is this the man we are supposed to make peace with?"
In Jerusalem, officials said Abbas has for a while been "distancing himself from the path of peace."
"There is a single thread that runs through the naming of streets after terrorists, providing an apartment and $5,000 grant to every terrorist released in the Shalit deal, and then meeting with Muna," a senior diplomatic source told Israel Hayom on Wednesday.
"All of this also relates to the fact that the Palestinians are not interested in choosing the path of negotiations or peace," the source added.
Among the Knesset members that Israel Hayom approached, only right-wing and centrist parliamentarians were willing to give a response to the meeting. "Abbas has revealed his true face as a terror supporter," said Knesset House Committee Chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud).
"Abbas' hugs deal a lethal blow to the diplomatic process and the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state," said MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima).
"The PA president's diplomatic doctrine is a mixture of historic lies, including Holocaust denial, a blood bond with Hamas and non-recognition of the Jewish people's right to a state," said MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud). "Meeting with a murderer is a natural extension of this. The time has come to view Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as sponsors of terror."
"Abbas' meeting with the revolting terrorist proves to all that we have no partner for peace among the Palestinians," said MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima).
"The meeting is a revolting act that arouses disgust," said her fellow party member MK Nachman Shai. "This is not the way to make peace."
The Palestinian Authority, for its part, rejected the criticism as out of line. "It is only natural for the president of 'Palestine' to meet with his citizens wherever they may be," said Abbas' political adviser Nimer Hammad. He accused Israel of "looking for excuses."
"Israel is the one that is destroying the peace process on a daily basis by building in the territories," he said.