A recently announced reconciliation deal brokered in Egypt could mean the end of a bitter and bloody divide between the two main rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.
Details are not yet finalized, however the agreement reportedly calls for the establishment of an interim unity government and legislative elections within one year. Currently, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority governs the West Bank while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. The initial agreement was announced during a joint press conference in Cairo on April 27.
Immediately, Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke out against the move towards Palestinian reconciliation. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman joined the chorus, saying, “Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and the PA must understand that it is not possible to be a partner with terrorists without being a partner to terror,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
Mr. Netanyahu—who is scheduled to deliver a speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress in May—encouraged the international community not to recognize the deal, and delivered an ultimatum to Mahmoud Abbas telling him to choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.
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