A senior Fatah official, Jibril Rajoub, told IDF Radio Thursday morning that the reconciliation agreement between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas does not mean that the PA will abandon the “peace process” with Israel. By joining a unity government with the Ramallah-based PA, he explained, Hamas has committed itself to following PA head Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen), who believes in a two-state solution.
"When the government is established, and Abu Mazen heads it, he will state in a clear and unmistakable way that he accepts the conditions laid down by the Quartet, and the government under his leadership accepts the solution of two states for two peoples,” Rajoub insisted. “We would not have been willing or able to sign the reconciliation accord unless it was clear to all Palestinian factions that we are leading our nation to a solution involving two states for two nations.
The reconciliation is an internal Palestinian matter, said Rajoub, and Israelis should not concern themselves over it, because in the end it is Abbas who sets policy, just as it is Netanyahu who sets Israel's policy, and ministers who are identified as more right-wing have to toe the line. “I do not think that Netanyahu stands on a coalition of the peace camp,” he added with sarcasm. “We hear statements from Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman and Yisrael Katz – which of them has not yet recognized the existence of the Palestinian people?”
Rajoub insisted that the PA does not want to scuttle talks with Israel. “I hope that the Israeli government will give Abu Mazen the required balance to continue the national reconciliation, based on the idea of two states for two peoples, and will also give Abu Mazen backing in dealing with the extreme challenge of continued existence of the settlements on Palestinian land.”
In an earlier interview Wednesday, Rajoub sounded more belligerent, accusing Netanyahu of heading a “racist and fascist coalition." He warned that Netanyahu will be held responsible for the “terrorist policies” he uses against “the Palestinian people through settlements.” He appeared to have decided to tone down his messages somewhat by the morning.
IDF Radio, Walla and Channel 2 television continue to interview Rajoub despite statements in which he denounced Jews as “Satans” and “Zionist sons of bitches,” and called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a “dog.”