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.
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.”
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.
“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.