Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas will make “peace much harder to achieve”، hours after the Palestinian faction Fatah and rival terror group Hamas signed a unity deal in Cairo، in a bid to end a decade-long rift، as the Times of Israel said.
Netanyahu said Israel would oppose “any reconciliation in which the organization Hamas does not disarm and end its war to destroy Israel.”
“Reconciling is part of the problem، not part of the solution. Say yes to peace and no to joining hands with Hamas،” he said.
Earlier، Israeli government sources indicated that Israel will not recognize a unified Fatah-Hamas Palestinian government unless Hamas disarms and recognizes Israel.
The officials said Israel would not accept the reconciliation deal as long as Hamas continues to build resistance tunnels in the Gaza Strip and carries out other resistant activity، and as long as it is still holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014، as well as two Israeli citizens.
“Any reconciliation between the (Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority) and Hamas must include a commitment to international agreements and to the conditions of the Quartet، first of which is recognizing Israel and demilitarizing Hamas،” one official said، in the Israeli government’s first reaction to the deal signed in Cairo.
“The continued digging of tunnels، manufacturing of rockets and terror activities against Israel is against the Quartet’s conditions and the efforts of the US to renew the diplomatic process،” the official told Channel 10.
The Israeli official also emphasized that “so long as Hamas does not disarm and continues to call for the destruction of Israel، Israel sees the group as responsible for any terror activity coming out of Gaza.”
“Israel demands that the Palestinian Authority does not allow any Hamas terror activities to be undertaken from the PA authority’s territories in Judea and Samaria as well as from Gaza، if indeed the PA gains control there. Israel will examine developments on the ground and react accordingly،” the official added.
Hamas and Fatah signed the reconciliation deal on Thursday in Cairo under the auspices of Egyptian government. The Palestinian Authority is to retake full control of the Gaza Strip by December 1، according to the deal.
Upon signing the deal، the Hamas deputy political leader said the agreement was reached in order that all Palestinian forces can “work together against the Zionist enterprise.”
Speaking after the agreement was signed، Saleh al-Arouri، who headed the Hamas delegation that negotiated the deal، said Palestinian unity was vital “so that we can all work together against the Zionist enterprise، which seeks to wipe out and trample the rights of our people.”
“We in Hamas are determined، serious and sincere this time and every time to end the division،” Arouri said. “We have adopted the strategy of one step at a time so that the reconciliation will succeed.”
Seated alongside him، Azzam al-Ahmad، the head of the Fatah delegation for the talks، said he had been instructed by Abbas to end the rift between the rival factions so that all the Palestinian people’s strength could be unified، “headed by Fatah and Hamas.”