Amid continuing uncertainty regarding what the Doha agreement between Fatah and
Hamas actually means, Israel is stepping up its demand that the international
community not accept an unreformed Hamas as part of the Palestinian Authority
“The international community can play a role in promoting
peace,” the Foreign Ministry wrote in a paper circulated Thursday on the Hamas-
Fatah deal. “It must stand by the Quartet’s three principles. By clarifying to
the Palestinian Authority that impenitent terrorist organizations cannot be
partners with those seeking peace, the world will be telling the Palestinians
that terrorism will not be tolerated or rewarded.”
established three criteria for engaging with Hamas: that it give up terrorism,
recognize Israel and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
agreement signed Monday in Doha calls for the establishment of an interim unity
agreement, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas replacing Salam Fayyad as the PA’s
Many, however, are skeptical the agreement will be
According to diplomatic officials, Israel has made clear to
the international community that a package of largely economic incentives to
entice the Palestinians back to talks that started last month in Jordan will be
taken off the table if the Hamas-Fatah deal is consummated.
not going to come with any confidence-building measures if this agreement is
implemented,” one diplomatic official said. A sign of its implementation, he
added, would be Fayyad’s replacement.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman,
meeting in New York Thursday with the UN ambassadors from 15 countries, said
Israel would not accept a Palestinian government with Hamas as a member if it
did not accept the international community’s three criteria. He said the Doha
agreement contributed neither to the promotion of the Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations nor to Palestinian interests, and only served the personal
interests of the two men who had signed it: Abbas and Hamas head Khaled
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that the PA has to choose: peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.
Jerusalem’s position on
the Hamas- Fatah agreement, as presented in the foreign ministry paper, is that
Hamas is an unrepentant terrorist organization, supported by Iran and dedicated
to the destruction of Israel.
Mashaal made his position clear after
signing the agreement, the paper said, adding that the deal would create greater
unity “in order to be free for confronting the enemy.”
The paper asserted
that the reconciliation of the main Palestinian factions could have meant that
Hamas adopted Fatah’s line and would be willing to engage in negotiations with
Israel. Instead, “it now seems that Fatah, the main component of the Palestinian
Authority, is the one rallying behind Hamas’s extremist views.”
addition to waiting to see whether this deal will be implemented, diplomatic
officials were also waiting for a Palestinian decision on whether to continue
with the preliminary talks in Jordan. The Palestinians have come under
considerable pressure from the US and EU to do so, and Quartet envoy Tony Blair
is continuing to consult intensively with Israeli and Palestinian officials, as
well as other leaders in the region, to put together a package that would lead
to a continuation of the Jordan talks.
An Arab league meeting to discuss
whether Abbas should return to these talks is scheduled for the coming week.
That meeting has already been postponed twice since the last Israeli-
Palestinian meeting in Jordan on January 25.