GAZA CITY — The Hamas premier of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, praised steps towards reconciliation taken by the Islamist group and its former rival Fateh, which were angrily denounced in Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mishaal took steps in Cairo on Thursday towards reforming the Fateh-dominated Palestine Liberation Organisation, such that Hamas could join.
“We want to pursue positive dialogue with Fateh from this point”, Haniyeh told journalists.
“Practical measures must however be taken, like the liberation of political prisoners from Hamas detained by Fateh,” he said, adding that Fateh must also stop its repeated questioning of Hamas supporters during investigations.
The reconciliation moves drew an angry response from Israel, with one minister saying Israel must now annex more territory to ensure the safety of its citizens in case “terrorist” Hamas gains influence in the West Bank.
“This alarming rapprochement between Abu Mazen [Abbas] and Hamas is aimed at forming a government that one can only say is aimed at bringing about a genocide,” Transport Minister Israel Katz of the right-wing Likud Party said.
“Since the dark days of Nazism, no other movement has set as its aim the killing of Jews”, he charged.
Katz said “Israel must impose its sovereignty on all Jewish districts of Judaea and Samaria [the West Bank],” over the prospect of reconciliation between Hamas and Fateh.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev told AFP the unity deal was proof that the Abbas was not interested in peace.
“Hamas is not a political movement that resorts to terrorism but a group whose whole vocation is terrorism,” Regev said.
“The closer President Abbas moves to Hamas, the further he moves away from peace.”
NOTE BY THE EDITOR: Palestinians beware! Israel will not stop their efforts of ‘divide and rule’ !