If nothing else, the 'agreement' between Hamas and the PA has served to unite Israeli leadership:
A seven-year-old rift between rival Palestinian factions seemingly ended Wednesday as officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas agreed to form a unity government and call for new elections.
Members of both organizations announced the deal at a press conference in Gaza following two days of negotiations.
PLO official Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior figure in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said he hoped the deal would be ”a true beginning and a true partnership.”
“We have made this Palestinian dream a reality whereby the rift has come to an end and we are reunited,” he said
The deal calls for a unity government to be formed within five weeks and for presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections to be called within six months of the coalition taking form, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said.
“This has become a national responsibility and a duty,” he said, referring to the reconciliation.
The sides will also exchange prisoners as part of the deal.
The news was met with celebrations on the streets in Gaza, though some analysts were skeptical the deal would hold any better than previous attempts.
Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PLO have been at loggerheads since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas organization seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, leaving him with only parts of the West Bank. Both sides have become entrenched in their territories, with Hamas using Gaza to fire thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, drawing two large scale Israeli offensives.
Israeli politicians slammed the agreement as putting Abbas, seen as a moderate, on the same footing as the hard-line Hamas terror group.
“From now on every Kassam [rocket] is sent from Abbas,” MK Ayelet Shaked from the hawkish Jewish Home party said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas had to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas.
“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas,” Netanyahu said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the signing of a unity agreement would spell the end of already teetering peace talks.
“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.
It is not the first time that a national unity government has been announced by the rival factions, and on several previous occasions attempts to form an administration have collapsed.
Fatah, the PLO’s main component, and Hamas signed a reconciliation accord in Cairo in 2011 aimed at ending the political divide between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank. But deadlines have come and gone without any progress in implementing provisions of the accord.
“People have heard the same thing over and over again and each time the agreement had been broken by either Fatah or Hamas,” said Samir Awad, politics professor at Birzeit University in the West Bank.
Analyst Hani al-Masri said he believed the reconciliation could collapse at any moment and had “hardly any substance on the ground.”
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip if aunity government is formed between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported an official in the coastal enclave as saying on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hamas and Fatah announced that they had reached an agreement to end their differences and form a Palestinian unity government within five weeks.
In light of the reconciliation announcement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed Abbas as a partner for peace with Israel.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] needs to choose between peace with Israel and an accord with Hamas,” he said.
"Anyone who chooses Hamas does not want peace," the premier charged.
Abbas meanwhile responded by saying that the unity pact did not contradict talks with Israel, and that a Palestinian state living alongside Israel remained his aim.
But in Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US was “disappointed” by the move.
“The timing was troubling,” she said of the unity pact, “and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement. Absent a clear commitment to those principle outlined, this could seriously complicate our efforts, and the efforts between the parties, to extend the negotiations.”
There is no chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace as long as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction sticks with the reconciliation deal it signed with Hamas, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday.
He said the deal meant Israel “has no partner” and said it signified a move toward Hamas gaining greater influence in the West Bank.
Reiterating his claim that Abbas is guilty of “diplomatic terror,” Liberman said Israel wasn’t surprised by the Fatah-Hamas pact, as Abbas had tried several times to blow up the Israeli-Palestinian talks during the last few months. He also said that he expects international pressure on Israel to continue engaging in the current US-brokered peace talks, yet asserted that Washington supported Jerusalem’s decision to cancel a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
“It is clear that as soon as Abbas chose to unite with Hamas, it is impossible to make peace with Israel,” the foreign minister told Israel Radio.
Chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni struck a solemn tone on Facebook Wednesday night, calling the reconciliation agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah “a bad step.”
“At this very hour, I was supposed to be at a meeting with the Palestinians aimed at continuing the negotiations, after there was progress in talks yesterday,” Livni posted on Facebook.
“The reconciliation agreement that Mahmoud Abbas signed with Hamas is a bad step, which not only caused the cancelation of the meeting, but cast a heavy shadow on the possibility to progress.
“We have a duty, even when we want peace, not to stop seeing reality with eyes wide open: Hamas combines religious Muslim extremist ideology with terrorism and doesn’t recognize our right to exist.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called US Secretary of State John Kerry to complain about the agreement, according to a senior government official.
Netanyahu told Kerry that Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas was a “Palestinian modus vivendi,” the official said. “Whenever it comes to decision time, the Palestinians run away,” the prime minister reportedly told Kerry. “Whoever wants peace with Hamas is not interested in peace with Israel.”
A unity deal between rival Palestinian factions is even worse than Ramallah’s threat to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Wednesday, issuing a scathing attack on the Palestinian leadership and questioning whether it is even interested in a state.
During a speech to representatives of the European Jewish Congress in Tel Aviv, Lapid lambasted what he characterized as the Palestinians’ stubborn attitudes in peace negotiations.
“Do the Palestinians really want a state?” he asked. “If the answer is ‘yes’, they could have a state in six months.”
Addressing a unity pact announced hours earlier between Hamas and the Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Lapid noted that Fatah, which dominates the PLO, made no demands from Hamas to give up its terror policies before signing the agreement.
Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid, said a threat to dissolve the PA and hand responsibility for the West Bank back to Israel was “illogical,” but maintained that the Fatah-Hamas unity deal was even worse.
“Hamas is not a government, 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,” he said.
Lapid said that Israel has made more than one offer in the past to establish a Palestinian state and on each occasion the offer was rejected.
“The question that is left is do the Palestinians want their own state, and if so, do they want to set it up alongside the Jewish state? Or have they never abandoned their original vision, a Palestinian state instead of Jewish state?”
Perhaps Today! Your bride anxiously awaits Lord! Oh what a day that will be!
I can't begin to fathom what our transformation and ascension will be like. But that is our reality church!
Lord you could save every person that is to escape the tribulation in a day. So be it!
On a side note to that - I can't recall a time, where I have had so many personal notes from friends, blog readers, etc., who tell me that they are literally 'hanging by a thread' waiting for the rapture. For a whole host of different reasons...I can so relate to that...God bless
It is hard to see future anymore and that is probably a good thing. Eternal yes but here and now seems a lot cloudier.
Looking forward to knowing as we have been known.
The church of the firstborn!
Yea, the future is the Tribulation and everything leading into it...all bad unfortunately. That's the sad thing - prophetically, we know things aren't going to get any better, as far as the big issues are concerned. Its so ominous.
I heard a pastor recently talking about end times prophecy, specifically he was defending the pre-trib rapture. In that process, he was talking about some of the criticisms of the Pre-Trib Rapture and mentioned the complaint that we just "want to escape"...And he said "you better believe it - if you fully understood the Tribulation, you would welcome such an escape"....I loved that. As if wanting to "escape" the tribulation is a bad thing!
This is Jacob Prasch, a Jewish believer in Yahshua (but NOT a believer in hyper-Jewishness in Christianity). This is a comprehensive teaching of "harpazo." Excellent, and well worth the time it takes to listen. Be encouraged, brothers & sisters--- keep watching! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzPOcjNAhcE
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