Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet on Tuesday announced the Israeli government would cease all so-called peace talks with the Palestinian Authority after it secured a reconciliation deal last week with the Hamas terrorist organization unless Hamas met certain conditions.
The Times of Israel reported the conditions for continued Israel-PA talks include the following requirements on Hamas:
The dissolution of Hamas’s arsenal; the return of Israeli citizens and the bodies of IDF soldiers being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip; the restoration of PA security control in Gaza, including at border crossings; continued action by the PA against Hamas’s “terror infrastructure” in the West Bank; and the end of Hamas’s ties with Iran.
The ministers said Hamas must forswear terrorism and recognize the Jewish state in accordance with the conditions of the Middle East Quartet, which comprises the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.
It also said any aid or humanitarian equipment destined for Gaza must pass through the PA and the systems in place meant to thwart smuggling to the terror group.
Hamas, a murderous terrorist group, has engaged in indirect talks with Israel aimed at a prisoner exchange and part of its deal with the PA includes restoration of some PA security control in the Gaza Strip. However, Hamas is unlikely to recognize the Jewish state, give up terrorism against Israel, or end its lucrative relationship with Iran.
The security cabinet decision essentially puts the kibosh on Trump-administered talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state. On Sunday, this reporter outlined the reasons the White House should immediately halt all attempts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal given that the PA is now in a unity government with a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction.
While the Israeli government decision impacts negotiations, Israel is likely to continue security cooperation with the PA.
Following the deal, Hamas denied reports that it had agreed to stop attacking Israel from the West Bank and it reaffirmed its goal of “resistance” – a euphemism for terrorism.
“There are no secret clauses in the reconciliation understanding, and what the occupation published on the resistance halting in the West Bank is not true,” senior Hamas spokesperson Husam Badran told the Palestinian news site Quds Network.
“The position to choose resistance is not connected to any person or entity, but rather it is the position of the entire Palestinian people to decide. The natural situation is that when there is an occupation, there will be a resistance to confront it,” Badran added.
The reconciliation agreement, signed last Thursday in Cairo, is aimed at creating a new Palestinian unity government.
The text of the deal was leaked to the news media. It calls for the creation of “procedures to enable the National Reconciliation Government (the Palestinian Authority) to fully exercise its functions and carry out its responsibilities in Gaza as it does in the West Bank by December 1, 2017.”
Reuters summarized the deal thusly:
Control of the Gaza border crossings with Israel and Egypt by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, could allow freer movement of people and goods across the frontier.
And under the agreement, about 3,000 Fatah security officers are to join the Gaza police force, although Hamas would remain the most powerful armed Palestinian faction, with around 25,000 well-equipped militants.
Hamas and Fatah are also debating a potential date for presidential and legislative elections and reforms of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is in charge of long-stalled peace efforts with Israel.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.