The inner cabinet forum known as the Diplomacy-Security Cabinet will convene Thursday to discuss the reconciliation announcement by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza-based Hamas.
Even the most government's fervent believer in the “peace process,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the negotiations team, appeared flummoxed by the latest events Wednesday. “This is a very problematic development, which harms the peace efforts that have been going on intensively and the chance that was only created recently,” she said. “The reconciliation agreement that [PA chief] Abu Mazen signed with Hamas is a bad step that casts a heavy shadow on the possibility of advancing in the talks,” she wrote on Facebook.
Livni clarified that no negotiation with Hamas is possible as long as Hamas does not recognize Israel.
The Islamist group, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and advocates the genocide of Jewish people as a religious duty in its official charter.
Yair Lapid, who has been a vocal proponent of the “peace process,” also sounded less than optimistic Wednesday. “Hamas is not a government,” he said, “it is a jihadi terror organization with a stated goal of killing civilians – women, children, old people – only because they are Jews.”
"How do you want to reach an agreement with us,” he asked, “when you have just signed an agreement with the people who swore to kill us? How do you want to establish a state alongside us, with these people? What kind of state do you want to establish? Or maybe they do not really want to?”
Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, insisted Wednesday that the reconciliation with Hamas does not contradict the peace process with Israel, and that it will bolster his standing in the Palestinian Arab public.