If Fatah-Hamas unity deal signed, we'll hold Abbas responsible for every rocket
Israel will hold Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for every rocket fired on Israel from Gaza if he goes through with his national unity pact with Hamas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.
Jerusalem has been lobbying the international community to place pressure on Abbas not to consummate his unity agreement with Hamas. Under the agreement, announced last month just prior to the expiration of the nine-month deadline in the US-brokered diplomatic talks, an interim unity Palestinian government is to be set up by the end of May, and elections held six months after that.
Netanyahu made clear in his statement that if the deal is not implemented, Israel would be willing to return to the negotiations.
Palestinian Reconciliation: An Iranian Windfall - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi
- The PA has rejected the demand that Hamas must accept the Quartet principles (renouncing terror, recognizing Israel, and recognizing the agreements signed between Israel and the PLO and the PA) before being allowed into the government or the PLO institutions. Abbas vehemently claims that Hamas is not a terror organization. Abbas' consent to integrating Islamic Jihad into the PLO implies he does not regard it as a terror group either.
- Abbas needs Hamas' cooperation to make it appear that the government of the PA exists in Gaza as well. With the PA striving for international recognition, this is of supreme importance. Hamas is clearly pleased with the international stamp of approval it expects to attain with Abbas' help.
- The entry ticket Abbas is providing Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the PLO enables them to compete for control of the PLO institutions and, through elections, to take the helm of the Palestinian national movement. In the 2006 parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas won an overwhelming majority. Thus, Hamas sees a historic opportunity to upgrade its current status and is competing to become the exclusive representative of the Palestinian people both in Palestine and the diaspora.
- By repeatedly defying the United States, and being prepared to integrate Islamic Jihad as well into the PLO, and possibly also other Islamic terror organizations, Abbas is signaling that he is no longer in the American camp. Instead he is adopting positions of the rejectionist camp and seeking closer ties with Iran, ally of Hamas and patron of Islamic Jihad.
The writer is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.
Palestinian Reconciliation: Tactical Relief or Strategic Opportunity?
- Kobi Michael and Udi Dekel
The reconciliation agreement reached recently by Fatah and Hamas is a result of the internal weakness of both organizations, with each suffering a steady erosion of legitimacy and public support.
The government of technocrats to be formed is a mechanism meant to make a show of both sides living under the same roof without either one having to give up its fundamental ideology.
The agreement does not change Hamas' essence as a terrorist organization and does nothing to make the PA or the PLO or Abbas into authorized representatives of the Palestinians in Gaza.
Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at INSS, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Ariel University. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Udi Dekel was head of the Strategic Planning Division in the Planning Directorate of the IDF General Staff.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)