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Hamas: PA-Israel Security Cooperation Blocking Unity Deal

Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar slammed PA officials saying their continued security cooperation with Israel is a bar to reconciliation
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/9/2012, 3:35 PM

Mahmoud al-Zahar
Mahmoud al-Zahar
Reuters

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Thursday said Fatah's cooperation with Israel was stalling national reconciliation.

Hamas does not recognize Israel while Fatah, which leads the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, coordinates with Israel under agreements signed in the 1990's.

PA officials have increasingly threatened to cancel cooperation agreements with Israel as they pursue reconciliation with Hamas and its terror confederates.

Those agreements govern Israeli-PA cooperation on banking, electricity, economics, security, telecommunications, water, and more.

A decision by Israel's government to suspend tax revenue transfers to the PA - amounting to some USD 100 million per month - for five weeks brought Ramallah to the brink of fiscal ruin.

The Israeli move was an expression of displeasure with the PA's decision to pursue a unilateral track at the United Nations in violation of the Oslo Accords, and to seek reconciliation with Hamas.

Zahar, speaking in Gaza City, said Fatah's security coordination with Israel had delayed the implementation of an agreement signed by the rival factions last May.

Israel's security forces have mounted a full-court press on terror groups in Judea and Samaria following the discovery of a network of Hamas terror cells in the region late last year.

Hamas has accused officials in Ramallah in cooperating with Israel's crackdown as a means of cementing their control over PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria. 

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and Fatah leader and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed in Doha in February to form a unity government headed by Abbas.

But the new government has yet to be formed as a rift between Hamas leaders in Gaza and its politburo abroad continues to widen.

Mashaal has tentatively accepted the notion of a state on the 1967 borders, and offered Abbas a one-year mandate for negotiations with Israel – though Zahar maintains any agreement with Israel will only serve as a “prelude to war.”

However, Hamas’ Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh maintains all talks with Israel are “futile” and believes the tide of the Arab Spring will lead to victory in the movement’s armed quest to destroy the Jewish state.

A raft of new demands from Haniyeh's faction that would leave Gaza in Hamas' grip, while also giving the terror group influence in Judea and Samaria, is almost certain to be rejected by Abbas.

A senior PLO official has also mounted a legal challenge to Abbas serving as both President and Prime Minister of the PA.

Meanwhile, Zahhar said revolutions across the Arab world would benefit the "Palestinian cause" and that "Israel will fight the Arab Spring and its goals because Tel Aviv seeks to dominate the region."

Israeli leaders – who have skeptically welcomed the Arab Spring – say a unity government between Fatah and Hamas will be a death knell for the already moribund peace process.

A recent round to talks between Israeli and PA negotiators in Jordan yielded no results, and reaffirmed the PA remain uninterested in a mutually agreed upon solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

In December 2011, PLO officials adopted "a strategy based on continuous efforts along with the international community to secure full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."