While Abbas has publicly insisted the government recognizes Israel’s right to exist, Hamas has stated it remains committed to the armed struggle against Israel and would continue to try to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian Media Watch, a research organization that tracks incitement in the official Palestinian media, provided the translation of the former spokesman’s Facebook post: ”You know what Mahmoud Abbas says behind closed doors?? He says: ‘Guys, let me [continue] saying what I say to the media. Those words are meant for the Americans and the occupation (i.e., Israel), not for you [Hamas]. What’s important is what we agree on among ourselves.”

“In other words, when I go out [publicly] and say that the government is my [Abbas] government and it recognizes ‘Israel’ and so on, fine – these words are meant to trick the Americans,” al-Ghussein posted, according to the translation. “The problem really isn’t with him [Abbas], the problem is with whoever believes him. Ha, Ha, Ha!”