Israel waiting to see results of Palestinian unity talks

IDF South preparing possible incursion into Gaza

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20 Feb 2012
Israel waiting to see results of Palestinian unity talks

An Israeli diplomatic source confirmed on Sunday that talks with the Palestinian Authority which ended last month without any tangible signs of progress will not be renewed until the dust settles from the recent agreement signed in Doha, Qatar between the PA and the Islamist terror militia Hamas. The possibility of Hamas, which makes no effort to hide its antipathy to Israel and unwillingness to recognize the Jewish State’s right to exist, could join the PLO and become part of a unity government with the PA has put relations between the PA and Israel in deep freeze. The source added that Israel expects the PA to return to the UN for another try at gaining statehood recognition from the Security Council in a matter of weeks. The source further stated that the proposals the PA put forward in Amman “harmed confidence,” and that no Israeli government could “accept them.”

The political agreement between Fatah, the largest party in the PA, and Hamas has been fragile from the beginning, with disputes also arising within each group. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who signed the agreement in Doha, have both been criticized by rivals who say they didn’t have the authority to sign an agreement without consulting other members of their respective leadership teams. Hamas leaders also denounced a statement by Abbas over the weekend that the future unity government would honor all agreements that were signed between the PLO and Israel, including the Oslo Accords, saying they had never agreed to this.

“The [unity] transitional government’s task would be restricted to rebuilding the Gaza Strip and preparing for elections,” said Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan. “After we hold elections, the new elected government will decide on its future steps in the political arena.”

In related news, the large number of rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip in recent days has led to urgent requests from the IDF for a large-scale ground incursion and not just retaliatory air strikes. “There is no need to wait for a provocation to launch an offensive against terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” a senior officer in the Southern Command explained. “The ongoing attacks – by rockets and along the border – are cumulatively more than enough to justify immediate action.”


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