(JTA) – Hamas could have prevented Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday.
The Palestinian Authority president also called on Hamas to renew its cease-fire with Israel.
"We spoke to them and told them, ‘Please, we ask you not to end the cease-fire. Let it continue,’" Abbas said during a news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. "We want to protect the Gaza Strip. We don’t want it to be destroyed."
Abbas also called the continuing rocket attacks on Israel "acts of foolishness."
Israel’s assault on Hamas targets began Saturday afternoon. More than 280 Palestinians have been killed in the operation so far.
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said Saturday that Abbas’ Fatah Party, which rules the West Bank, was prepared to assume control of Gaza if Israel topples the Hamas regime there.