Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the two main factions of the Palestinian Nationalist movement, have announced a reconciliation agreement, creating the image of a united front towards Palestinian statehood.
Palestinian Authority President Abbas sent a delegation to the Gaza Strip earlier this week, hoping to strike a deal with Hamas leadership.
Hamas is an international terrorist group, recognized as such by both the United States and the European Union. Its charter bluntly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
While Hamas is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, many note the Palestinian Authority also is largely responsible for the institutional incitement of Palestinian terrorism.
“This is the good news we tell our people. The era of division is over,” said Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Later in the day, when thousands of Gaza’s citizens took to the streets to parade and cheer the unity agreement, Gaza terrorists simultaneously launched rockets into southern Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu questioned Abbas’ decision to unite with the militant Islamist group. “Every time we get to this point, Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] stacks on additional conditions which he knows that Israel cannot give. So instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas.” The Israeli Prime Minister continued, “He has to choose, does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel. You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, [but] so far he hasn’t done so.”
Israel responded to the unification agreement by canceling Wednesday night’s scheduled peace talks.
A senior Israeli politician said of the Palestinian Authority-Hamas talks prior to the unity agreement, “Behind the empty statements on peace, Abbas is holding unity talks with Hamas, which around the world is considered a terror organization bent on destroying Israel and killing Jews.”