The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement signed Wednesday and the announcement of the formation of a Palestinian unity government seem to have removed any doubt about the failure of the PA-Israeli peace negotiations.
The failure of the US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority appears evident with the announcement of reconciliation between PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and terror group Hamas. The Fatah-Hamas unity agreement will be followed by the formation of a unity government within five weeks, Palestinian officials proclaimed.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator, acknowledged her disappointment on Thursday morning.
“At this very hour, I was supposed to be at a meeting with the Palestinians to continue the negotiations, after there was progress in talks yesterday,” she stated on Facebook. “The reconciliation agreement signed by Mahmoud Abbas with Hamas was a bad step, which not only caused the cancellation of the meeting, but also cast a heavy shadow on the ability to progress.”
Livni Recognizes ‘Reality’ of Fatah-Hamas Unity
“We have a duty, even when we want peace, to see reality with our eyes wide open,” she said. “Hamas combines religious Muslim extremist ideology with terrorism and does not recognize our right to exist.”
After signing the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement in Gaza, Palestinian officials announced the formation of a coalition government within five weeks, to be followed by elections for the presidency, the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestinian National Council six months later.
Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, in an interview with Army Radio Thursday morning, insisted that the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement “will be implemented according to the program of Abu Mazen [Abbas’s nom de guerre], which recognizes the State of Israel…[alongside] a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and the State of Israel with its capital in West Jerusalem.”
“When the government is established with Abu Mazen at its head, he will express clearly and unequivocally that he accepts…the two-state solution,” Rajoub declared. “We weren’t willing to sign the reconciliation agreement without it being clear to all factions that we are driving forward our nation to a two-state solution.”
The Hamas charter openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and for the murder of Jews worldwide, and the Hamas leadership had been castigating Abbas for participating in peace negotiations. Terror from Hamas-ruled Gaza has increased significantly; more than 100 rockets were fired into southern Israel since the beginning of 2014 , according to the IDF.
Netanyahu: ‘Whoever Chooses Hamas Does Not Want Peace’
“I said this morning that Abu Mazen needs to choose between peace with Israel and an agreement with Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and which both the United States and the European Union define as a terrorist organization,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Wednesday evening. “As talks are still ongoing about extending the negotiations, Abu Mazen has chosen Hamas and not peace. Whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace.”
The Israeli government held a cabinet session Thursday morning to discuss the latest developments.
“Signing an agreement of a Fatah-Hamas unity government is tantamount to a signature on the conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman declared.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid has supported Livni in her efforts to achieve a peace agreement with the PA. Assessing the new situation, he said:
“Hamas is not a government. It is a Jihadi terror organization with a stated goal of killing civilians – women, children, the elderly – only because they are Jews. How do you [Abbas] want to reach an agreement with us when you have just signed an agreement with those who swore to kill us? How do you want to establish a state alongside us with these people?”
According to Lapid, if the PA wants to establish as state that would replace the Jewish state, “they need to know that will never happen.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett commented on his Facebook page that the “signing of the merger between Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas introduces to the Middle East a whole new political era.”
Fatah-Hamas Unity Creates ‘Largest Terrorist Entity in the World’
“The Palestinian Authority has just become the largest terrorist entity in the world, 20 minutes from Tel Aviv,” he asserted. “These three terrorist groups have killed more than 1,000 Israelis in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa since 2000.”
The US, while expressing disappointment, supported Israel’s conclusions. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said it was “hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”
Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer, United with Israel