by Ilan Evyatar/TPS
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally made his voice heard on reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, saying during a tour of Ma’ale Adumin Tuesday that Israel would not accept ‘bogus reconciliations’ at its expense.
“We expect everyone who talks about a peace process to recognize the State of Israel and, of course, to recognize a Jewish state and we are not prepared to accept bogus reconciliations in which the Palestinian side apparently reconciles at the expense of our existence,” Netanyahu said. “Whoever wants to make such a reconciliation, our understanding is very clear: Recognize the State of Israel, disband the Hamas military arm, sever the connection with Iran, which calls for our destruction, and so on and so forth. Even these very clear things must be clearly stated,” he added.
Netanyahu’s comments came as Egyptian mediated meetings took place in Gaza between Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the Hamas leadership in the Strip.
As Netanyahu was speaking in Maaleh Adumim, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi gave a televised speech saying the entire Arab world wanted to see a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, adding that “history would judge them if they failed to seize the opportunity to make peace.”
Closer to home, chairman of the Joint List party, MK Ayman Odeh, accused Netanyahu of meddling in internal Palestinian issues in order to serve his political agenda.
“Netanyahu is trying to capitalize on the split in the Palestinian leadership so he’ll be able to say there is no partner for negotiations because there is no unified leadership representing the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.
“Reconciliation and unity of the Palestinian people will help tear the mask off the prime minister’s face and expose the fact that he is the one refusing peace and a historic compromise,” Odeh said.