Netanyahu: Fatah-Hamas reconciliation makes peace harder


(JTA) — Reacting to reports that Hamas and Fatah reached a power-sharing deal, Benjamin Netanyahu said their reconciliation would obstruct peace because of Gaza’s support for terrorism.

The Israeli prime minister wrote about the deal Thursday, after news reports that a breakthrough was reached Thursday during talks between the two Palestinian rival factions in Cairo.

“Israel opposes any reconciliation in which the terrorist organization Hamas does not disarm and end its war to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook following reports of a deal between the Palestinian Authority’s ruling faction, Fatah, and Hamas, the terrorist group that has been in control of Gaza for the past decade following a bloody coup.

“Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas makes peace much harder to achieve,” added Netanyahu, citing how Hamas’ “seeks the annihilation of Israel, advocates genocide, launched thousands of rockets at civilians and digs terror tunnels, murders children” and “refuses to return the bodies of Israeli soldiers to grieving mothers and fathers.”

In a statement Thursday in Hebrew, Netanyahu said his opposition to the deal was rooted in Hamas’ failure to meet conditions set forth by the Middle East Quartet for dialog with the terrorist group.

First and foremost on the list of demands put forward by the Quartet task force for peace talks set up by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations is “recognizing Israel and disarming Hamas,” Netanyahu said.

“Digging terror tunnels, manufacturing rockets and terrorism against Israel run contrary to the Quartet’s conditions,” Netanyahu added.

But in statement last month, a spokesperson for the Quartet welcomed reconciliation talks without mentioning the issue of terrorism.

Hamas and Fatah should “take concrete steps to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority,” the Quarter said in a Sept. 28 statemenmt. This will facilitate lifting the closures of the crossings, while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns, and unlock international support for Gaza’s growth, stability, and prosperity, which is critical for efforts to reach lasting peace.”

Several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, welcomed the reaching of a deal, which was celebrated during a ceremony in Cairo.

Egypt’s State Information Service said that the rivals had agreed to hand full control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by December. Palestinian officials said that if the process goes well, the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, could visit Gaza in the coming month, his first visit to the embattled coastal strip in a decade.

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