PM: Fatah-Hamas deal will end diplomatic process

Netanyahu says Abbas signing reconciliation deal with Hamas shows he is "abandoning" peace.

PRIME MINISTER Binyamin Netanyahu 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
PRIME MINISTER Binyamin Netanyahu 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the emerging reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah on Monday, sending a clear message to the international community that if it is consummated, the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process is over.
One reason for Netanyahu’s sharp response to reports of a deal – he made it a point to make his remarks both in Hebrew and in English – was to get the international community to pressure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to implement it, one government official acknowledged.
“Anyone in the international community concerned about the peace process should be intervening now with the Palestinians to prevent the consummation of this marriage,” the official said.
The agreement, reached between Fatah and Hamas under the auspices of Qatar, calls for Abbas to serve as an interim prime minister of a Palestinian unity government made up of independent figures.
The government’s primary job would be to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections, and to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
After the agreement was reported, the Prime Minister’s Office distributed a “special statement” by Netanyahu, saying that in recent weeks he and “several world leaders” have made serious efforts to advance peace.
“If President Abbas moves to implement what was signed today in Doha, he will abandon the path of peace and join forces with the enemies of peace,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is an enemy of peace. It’s an Iranian-backed terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction.”
Saying Abbas can’t have it both ways, and has to choose either a peace pact with Israel or with Hamas, the prime minister reiterated that Hamas had not yet accepted the three minimal requirements demanded of it by the international community: to recognize Israel’s right to exist, abandon terrorism, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Instead, Netanyahu said, Hamas “continues to arm itself for even deadlier terrorism.”
Government officials said efforts over the last couple of weeks to put together a package of economic steps as an incentive to keep the Palestinians at nascent, low-level talks in Jordan, have now been put on hold.
“Now we are waiting to see what will be with this agreement,” the official said. “We are making it clear that this agreement would be a body blow to the whole process.
This sort of agreement could lead to the end of the peace process.”
He characterized the move as a major “confidence destroying measure.”
In 2006, following Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian legislative elections and Ismail Haniyeh’s appointment as prime minister, Israel stopped working with the PA government and halted the transfer of monthly tax revenue it collected for the PA.
A spokesman at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, asked about what Washington’s policy would be if the Doha agreement was implemented, said the US would not articulate a “formal position on a speculative event. We will wait to see what happens.”
The spokesman reiterated the US policy that Hamas must accept the international community’s three conditions has not changed.
The EU also did not have a formal reaction on Monday to the Fatah-Hamas moves.
At the end of November, however, after a previous round of reconciliation talks, the EU issued a statement saying it has “consistently called for reconciliation under Abbas’s authority.”
The statement said it considered reconciliation “an opportunity rather than a threat,” and that Palestinian unity was “an important element for a viable Palestinian state, and essential for securing a lasting peace with Israel.”
At the same time, that statement said the EU expected a new Palestinian government to uphold the principles of nonviolence, remain committed to a twostate solution, and negotiate a peaceful settlement with Israel, while accepting previous agreements and recognizing Israel’s right to exist.