Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas review the honour guard during a reception ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 7, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jordanian King Abdullah said the Egyptian-brokered agreement to advance reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah constitutes “an important step” for efforts to relaunch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Egyptian Intelligence Directorate helped Hamas and Fatah reach an agreement on October 12 to restore the Palestinian Authority’s governing authority over the Gaza Strip. Hamas forcibly ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from Gaza in 2007.
The Jordanian king’s comments on Sunday came during a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the Husseiniya Palace in Amman.
“Abdullah affirmed that the reconciliation deal is an important step to move forward efforts to advance the peace process and relaunch serious and effective negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of the two-state solution,” the state-run Jordanian news site Petra reported.
In peace talks sponsored by US president Barack Obama, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah essentially negotiated on behalf of the West Bank only as it maintained no control over Gaza.
PLO officials have said that if the Egyptian-sponsored Hamas-Fatah deal restores the PA’s control over Gaza, they will be able negotiate on behalf of all the Palestinian territories.
Following his meeting with Abdullah, Abbas said he wants the Hamas-Fatah agreement to lead to one overarching regime in the West Bank and Gaza.
“There will be one authority, one law, one system and one gun, and the national consensus government will be enabled to carry out its duties in Gaza as it does in the West Bank,” Abbas said of his expectation for the implementation of the agreement, the official PA news site Wafa reported.
Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have said while their party wants to advance reconciliation efforts with Fatah, they will not give up control of their armed wing’s weapons.
“We absolutely will not give up on the rights of the Palestinian people and resistance. Any understanding or reconciliation will not affect the resistance weapons and their program,” Deputy Hamas Politburo Chief Salih al-Arouri said in Tehran on Saturday.
Abbas and Abdullah also discussed the situation at Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and agreed that the status quo must be respected.
Following a shooting attack in July that left three police officers dead, Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount, a holy site to Muslims and Jews.
While Israel said the detectors were to serve a security purposes, the PA said they were a part of a plan to change the status quo and Jordan sharply criticized them.
Thousands of Palestinians protested the detectors near the entrances to the Temple Mount. After more than two weeks of protests, Israel removed them.
Abbas and Abdullah were last in Ramallah together in August when the Jordanian King made a rare visit to the Palestinian territories.