Israel’s security cabinet announced on Tuesday that Israel will not deal with joint Fatah-Hamas Palestinian government unless Hamas gives up terror and accepts Israel’s right to exist.
Israel’s demands are that Hamas, now a partner in the Palestinian government, accept the internationally endorsed Quartet principles for Israeli-Palestinian peace including a rejection of “incitement, and terror,” and acceptance of “the two-State solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations,” The Times of Israel reported.
Other concrete demands made by Israel ahead of resuming talks with a joint Fatah-Hamas government would be for Hamas to disarm, to release Israelis held in Gaza and the bodies of Israeli soldiers, for the Palestinian Authority to assume security control over Gaza, for the PA to continue acting against Hamas’s “terror infrastructure” in the West Bank, and for Hamas to end its ties with Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the reconciliation deal would make “peace much harder to achieve,” but indicated that he would not end ties with the PA over it and that addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was in Israel’s interest.
The security cabinet’s decision came in the wake of Hamas’s denial that it agreed to stop terror attacks against Israel in the West Bank.
“There are no secret clauses in the reconciliation understanding, and what the occupation published on the resistance halting in the West Bank is not true,” senior Hamas spokesperson Husam Badran told the Palestinian news site, Quds Network.
Earlier this month, Special United States envoy Jason Greenblatt said that any unified Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and “commit to nonviolence.”
Leaked terms of the deal were reported by The Jerusalem Post over the weekend didn’t address Hamas’s terror infrastructure. “Hamas’s armed wing has some 25,000 members, who have thousands of weapons including guns and rockets,” the Post observed.
Avi Issacharoff summed up what the failure to address Hamas’s infrastructure means:
It would appear, as far as is known right now, that Abbas capitulated gloriously and accepted civilian responsibility for the Strip, even though Hamas will continue to control it militarily. That would mean the digging of tunnels toward and under the border with Israel will continue. And so, too, Hamas’s relentless rearming and its rocket and missile development.
Indeed, Hamas would henceforth be able to focus more exclusively on its military arsenal, boosting its capabilities, while Abbas and the PA take care of the ongoing, financially costly needs of the Gaza citizenry.
Amos Yadlin, the former chief of Israel’s military intelligence assessed the Fatah-Hamas agreement in a series of tweets on Monday. In particular he noted, “if Hamas doesnt accept the Quartet’s principles, Israel is now even further away from having a partner for peace. However, despite the weaknesses of the deal, Yadlin advised Israel not object to the deal, but “instead, Israel should let it collapse on its own, as all previous agreements have.”
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