Israel nixes negotiations with Palestinians over Hamas

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Israel’s Security Cabinet voted last Tuesday to not negotiate with the Palestinians until Hamas disarms and recognizes the State of Israel. In response, the Cabinet released a list of necessary conditions to enter negotiations for the peace process.

The vote came following the recently announced Palestinian unity government between Fatah and Hamas. Egypt’s State Information Service confirmed the Palestinian Authority’s future control of the Gaza Strip with a meeting scheduled for all relevant Palestinian leadership in Cairo towards the end of November.

The Palestinians claim the Egyptian brokered unity deal will go into effect December 1, 2017, and a reported 3,000 Palestinian Authority police will be deployed to the Gaza Strip. A joint police force is to be created as the Palestinians begin to merge and integrate government bodies. The unity government is reported to be formed by January of 2018.

The Office of the Prime Minister released a list of the necessary conditions for negotiations with the Palestinians last week, with the main requirement that Hamas disarm and “desist from terrorism.” The Prime Minister’s Office reiterated, “Pursuant to previous decisions, the Government of Israel will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel…”

Other conditions for negotiations, specific to Hamas, are that the terrorist organization must disarm, sever ties with Iran and that “IDF fallen and Israeli civilians held by Hamas must be returned,” in reference to Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, and Avraham Mengistu who is believed to be imprisoned by Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority must “exercise full security control in Gaza, including at the crossings, and prevent smuggling,” in specific reference to Hamas’ tunnel network. The Palestinian Authority also must “act against Hamas terror infrastructures in Judea and Samaria [West Bank]” and ensure that humanitarian aid and equipment for Gaza are used only for “the mechanisms that have been established for this purpose,” referring to Hamas’ use of aid and equipment for its terror activities.

The Palestinians lashed out last Wednesday, rejecting the conditions and accusing Israel of avoiding negotiations. A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, stated: “The Israeli position won’t change the official Palestinian policy of reconciliation that results in the end of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Hamas rejected the conditions, calling on Palestinians to “continue to strengthen the internal Palestinian front, and complete the reconciliation in every file under what was agreed in the Cairo agreement,” a Hamas spokesman stating, “This Israeli intervention into internal Palestinian affairs is rejected. The Palestinian people at all levels should not respond to these blatant Zionist interventions.”

Originally posted at Kehila News.


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