If there were any remote signs of life in the Israel/Palestinian peace talks, they died today with the announcement of a reconciliation agreement between terrorist group Hamas, and the “moderate” terrorists of Fatah who run the PLO.
The two groups agreed on Wednesday to implement a unity pact, both sides announced in a joint news conference:
The move envisions forming a unity government within five weeks and holding national elections six months after a vote of confidence by the Palestinian parliament.
Palestinians have long hoped for a healing of the political rift between the PLO and militant Hamas, which won a Palestinian election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Western-backed Abbas in 2007.
But Arab-brokered unity pacts reached between the two sides have yet to be implemented, leaving many Palestinians skeptical about their leaders’ reconciliation pledges.
“This is the good news we tell our people: the era of division is over,” Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh told Palestinian reporters to loud applause.
While both Fatah and Hamas call for the destruction of Israel, Hamas is more overt in it’s threats making them in all languages and is considered a terrorist group even by the appeasement-prone European Union. Fatah, on the other hand is considered “moderate” because its call for the destruction of Israel are only made in Arabic.
Understandably, earlier this week Israeli PM Netanyahu said he would not negotiate with a government which includes Hamas unless it renounces violence and terrorism (which is as likely as Nancy Pelosi calling for the repeal of Obamacare).
The US State Dept. understands Netanyahu’s stance:
In Washington state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the US was troubled by the announcement, which “could seriously complicate” negotiations to extend peace negotiations.
“This certainly is disappointing and raises concerns about our efforts to extend the negotiations,” she said.
“It is hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that doesn’t believe in its right to exist.” She also indicated there could be broader implications for an array of US policies towards Palestine, including aid, should Hamas enter into government without abiding a set of principles, including recognition of Israel, agreement to previous agreements, and a commitment to non-violence, dictated by Washington.