Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh (R) and Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed (Rahim Khatib /Flash90) Head of the Hamas government Haniyeh (R) and Senior Fatah official Al-Ahmed (L) announce a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City April 23, 2014. (Photo: Arabs protests in Gaza over dire situation. (Photo: Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

While Trump expressed hope for peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s supposed peace partner, is cozying up to Hamas.

In his meeting Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump expressed hope that his administration could achieve “peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” even as the Palestinian Authority (PA) considers making another unity deal with the Hamas terrorist group .

Trump said that his administration would give the project of overseeing peace between the two parties “an absolute go.”

“We will discuss the way we can seize the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab World,” Netanyahu said in his remarks. “I think these things go together, and we look forward to talking about how we can advance both.”

Netanyahu also expressed his hope to discuss “how we can address together what you rightly call is the terrible nuclear deal with Iran and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria,” with Trump.

The Israeli leader praised the president for his administration’s defense of Israel at the United Nations. He called the United States position towards Israel at the international body “strong,” possessing “both clarity and conviction.”

PA’s Actions Counter Peace

The optimism Trump expressed about shepherding a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, however, could be derailed by ongoing unity talks between the PA and Hamas.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is set to travel to Gaza to assert the PA’s control over its administration.

If the PA agrees to Hamas’s terms, “Abbas cannot expect the United States to agree to his negotiating terms if he’s just inked another agreement with a designated terror group,” Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies observed in The Atlantic. Rumley noted that a similar reconciliation deal undermined efforts by then Secretary of State John Kerry to forge a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Accepting Hamas into the PLO without forcing it to renounce terrorism would put the PA at odds with the Quartet’s Roadmap for Peace, which requires Palestinian leadership to issue an “unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate end to all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere.”

By: The Tower

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