The possibility of joining the PLO does not imply a commitment to following the organization’s political plan, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah emphasized in an interview with Al-Hayat published Saturday.

“In the coming meeting we will discuss joining the organization; this is just the beginning of the road,” said Shallah to the London-based newspaper.

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Sallah’s comments followed Thursday’s agreement between leaders of several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Fatah, to “activate and reconstruct” the PLO to allow other nonmember parties to join the organization.

Palestinians hailed the agreement as a “historic event” that would mark the beginning of a new era for the Palestinian issue.

The move will pave the way for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical groups to join the PLO, which has 10 members – the largest being Fatah.

Other members include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Arab Liberation Front, as well as four tiny groups aligned with Syria and with Iraq’s now defunct Ba’ath Party.

Israel immediately slammed the move, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev saying that if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “embraces Hamas – if he walks toward Hamas, he is walking away from peace.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report

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