Netanyahu blasts Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement

05 October, 2017, 00:18 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Palestinian PM arrives in Gaza, first visit since 2015

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday chaired the first meeting of the Palestinian Cabinet in Gaza for three years in a move toward reconciliation between the mainstream Fatah party and Islamist group Hamas.

Washington gave a cautious welcome to the PA's return to Gaza, while stressing that any new Palestinian government would have to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

A national consensus government was formed in June 2014, tasked with preparing for legislative and presidential elections that never materialised, as both Fatah and Hamas blamed each other for numerous political failures.

After crossing from Israel into Gaza on Monday Mr hamdallah said: "We return to Gaza for the sake of achieving reconciliation, national unity and ending the division". This also means some respite to the people in the Gaza strip who are living under catastrophic humanitarian conditions imposed by the Israeli siege.

After Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates imposed economic sanctions against Qatar, Hamas' main financial supporter, over allegations of supporting regional terrorist groups, Hamas chose to dissolve its shadow government in Gaza last month. This is sensible: if Hamdallah reaches a tentative agreement with Hamas which looks likely to cause problems with the Trump administration, Abbas will be able to disown it (and Hamdallah too, if needs be).

With the proceedings of the meeting, the talks came to a deadlock when Hamas refused the demand of giving up its weapons arsenal.

"If the region stays engaged, if Egypt's role continues, and if the political parties themselves continue to show the willingness they are now showing to work with us on this process, then it can succeed", he told AFP news agency.


On the other hand, we see a clear dividing line of stances and perspectives where President of Palestine categorically opposed Hamas's stance of possessing military assets which are a threat to the nation's sovereignty and integrity.

Hamas could not "copy or clone Hezbollah's experience in Lebanon", he added, referring to a situation where an independent armed group exerts major influence on national politics.

Last month, Hamas announced they were willing to cede civilian control in Gaza to the PA, after Egyptian pressure. It failed to function in Gaza because of disputes between Hamas and Fatah over its responsibilities.

The PA has signed peace deals with Israel, but Hamas was not party to them and does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

Officials on both sides said the more hard issues will be addressed at the upcoming talks in Cairo.

"We do not accept any interference from any country in our internal Palestinian affairs, except for Egypt, because its interference is accepted by all parties involved, whether us [Fatah] or Hamas", he said in an interview on Egyptian TV in Ramallah.

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