Israel will not hold talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) unless Hamas disarms, recognises Israel and hands over Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza.
The Palestinian Islamic Movement Hamas and its secular rival Fatah Movement, which dominates the PA, reached a reconciliation agreement on Thursday.
“Hamas must recognise Israel and cease terrorism as per the Quartet’s terms, Hamas must disarm and bodies of [Israeli] soldiers and living Israeli civilians must be returned from Gaza,” the Security Cabinet said, according to the Israeli news website Ynet News.
It added: “The PA must exert full security control over Gaza, including in border crossings and smuggling prevention, must continue foiling Hamas’ terror plots in the West Bank, Hamas must disengage from Iran and, finally, only finances and humanitarian equipment from the PA will be allowed to enter Gaza.”
The decision came in light of American and Egyptian calls for Israel to renew talks with the PA. US President Donald Trump had announced that he plans to push forward the political process in the region towards peace, Arab48a reported.
Calls for renewing talks increased after the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas and this pushed several Israeli officials to voice their rejection of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Yesterday, Haaretz reported sources from Netanyahu’s office denying claims that the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas encourages the renewal of peace talks.
Earlier this week, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the international community was wrong not to engage in dialogue with Hamas when it won Palestinian elections in 2006.
“Obviously it was very difficult,” Blair said, “the Israelis were very opposed to it. But you know we could have probably worked out a way whereby we did – which in fact we ended up doing anyway, informally.