Palestinian Official Likens Israeli Prime Minister to Islamic State Leader

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Palestinian Official Likens Israeli Prime Minister to Islamic State Leader

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a conference on counter-terrorism in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Ramallah:  A senior Palestinian official on Tuesday likened Benjamin Netanyahu to the leader of the Islamic State group, after the Israeli prime minister compared Hamas to the jihadist organisation.

"Netanyahu is trying to disseminate fear of the Islamic State led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but Netanyahu forgets that he himself leads the Jewish state," said Saeb Erakat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator in peace talks with Israel.

"He wants us to call Israel the Jewish state and supports terrorist settlers who kill, destroy and burn mosques and churches... like Baghdadi's men kill and terrorise," Erakat told AFP.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Monday, Netanyahu compared Israel's battle against Hamas to that of the US-led one against the brutal IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

With his speech at the United Nations, "Netanyahu finally closed the door on progress towards a two-state solution within the 1967 borders and rejected any serious political solution" in the peace talks, said Erakat.

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Those talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed spectacularly in April amid bitter recriminations on both sides.

They are supposed to meet again next month in Cairo for negotiations on a long-term truce after the 50-day Gaza war that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mainly soldiers.

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