Amid continuing uncertainty regarding what the Doha agreement between Fatah and Hamas actually means, Israel is stepping up its demand that the international community not accept an unreformed Hamas as part of the Palestinian Authority government.
“The international community can play a role in promoting peace,” the Foreign Ministry wrote in a paper circulated Thursday on the Hamas- Fatah deal. “It must stand by the Quartet’s three principles. By clarifying to the Palestinian Authority that impenitent terrorist organizations cannot be partners with those seeking peace, the world will be telling the Palestinians that terrorism will not be tolerated or rewarded.”
The Quartet established three criteria for engaging with Hamas: that it give up terrorism, recognize Israel and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
The agreement signed Monday in Doha calls for the establishment of an interim unity agreement, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas replacing Salam Fayyad as the PA’s prime minister.
Many, however, are skeptical the agreement will be implemented.
According to diplomatic officials, Israel has made clear to the international community that a package of largely economic incentives to entice the Palestinians back to talks that started last month in Jordan will be taken off the table if the Hamas-Fatah deal is consummated.
“Israel is not going to come with any confidence-building measures if this agreement is implemented,” one diplomatic official said. A sign of its implementation, he added, would be Fayyad’s replacement.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, meeting in New York Thursday with the UN ambassadors from 15 countries, said Israel would not accept a Palestinian government with Hamas as a member if it did not accept the international community’s three criteria. He said the Doha agreement contributed neither to the promotion of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations nor to Palestinian interests, and only served the personal interests of the two men who had signed it: Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Mashaal.
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