Sep 28, 2022
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Palestinians militants from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) group, during training in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis on May 19, 2011. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90)

Palestinians militants from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) group, during training in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis on May 19, 2011. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90)

Israel’s leaders are fuming over a new agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to create a national unity government against Israel. With the deadline for the latest round of peace talks taking place in just five days, Israel is viewing the latest alliance as a total disregard by the Palestinians of the peace process.

“The reconciliation agreement that Mahmoud Abbas signed with Hamas is a bad step, which not only caused the cancellation of the meeting, but cast a heavy shadow on the possibility of progress,” Justice Minister and Israel’s chief peace negotiator Tzipi Livni said.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a scheduled peace negotiation meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. “Abbas has chosen Hamas and not peace. Whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace,” the prime minister stated.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who has always been a vocal proponent of the peace process, said that while the PA’s threat to dissolve was “illogical,” the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement was worse.

“Hamas is not a government,” he said. “It is a jihadist terror organization that has inscribed on its flag the killing of civilians – women, children, old people – just because they are Jewish.”

“How do you want to reach an agreement with us,” Lapid asked, “when you have just signed an agreement with the people who swore to kill us? How do you want to establish a state alongside us, with these people? What kind of state do you want to establish? Or maybe they do not really want to?”

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Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman implied that the Palestinians had all but turned their backs on the peace process.

“The signing of an agreement for a unity government between Fatah and Hamas is a signature on the end of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Palestinian officials are firing back, saying that the new agreement is bringing the two-state solution one step closer to reality. Abbas denied unifying with Hamas would affect the peace process.

“There is no incompatibility between reconciliation and the talks, especially since we are committed to a just peace on the basis of a two-state solution in accordance with the resolutions of international law,” Abbas said in a statement released by his office.

“This move, supported by the Arab world and internationally, will strengthen the ability of the Palestinian negotiators to realize the two-state solution,” the statement read.

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat deflected blame for the faltering peace process. “Netanyahu stopped the negotiations a long time ago,” Erekat told AFP. “He chose the settlements instead of peace. He is demolishing the peace process.”

Deputy Director-General of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub told the Times of Israel that Netanyahu is “heading a racist, fascist coalition that is acting against international framework.”

He warned that “Netanyahu will be responsible for the terror policies that he is applying against the Palestinian people by way of the settlements.”