Hamas and Islamic Jihad Say They're Joining PLO Leadership
The terrorist group Hamas says it's advancing with terror organization Islamic Jihad to integrating into the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a group recognized internationally as representing the "Palestinian people," but which has never renounced terror.
Speaking last Friday in Gaza's Al-Omri Mosque, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced that in the coming days the temporary leadership of the PLO will meet in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, roughly a month since the signing of a unity deal between Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
Haniyeh said that according to the deal Hamas, along with Islamic Jihad, would be integrated in the PLO's leadership and take part in elections for PLO institutions.
The Hamas leader noted that the topic of Arab terrorists imprisoned in Israel would be a central issue that the joint leadership would try to tackle.
"No one is worthy of leadership, and no one is worthy to stay in their role, if they distance from the prisoners and send them to deal alone with the injustice of the occupation," stated Haniyeh, calling on the "Palestinian people" to escalate the "struggle" against Israel to cause their release.
The sides in the unity deal are still in discussions on three central subjects according to Haniyeh, those being elections for the presidency and parliament, security issues, and reciprocal releases of imprisoned members of each group held by the other. Reportedly $60 million will be transferred as compensation for residents injured in Hamas's violent coup that kicked Fatah out of Gaza in 2007.
The discussions have been hampered by reports that Abbas has said Hamas will not be part of a unity government, while Hamas remains adamant it would control such a government, insisting that Haniyeh would rule the government.
As for security matters, Hamas has criticized the PA for security arrangements with Israel that the PA last week threatened to abandon. Hamas also has claimed PA security forces will be integrated into Hamas's police in Gaza, and denied allowing Hamas to be integrated into the PA side of law enforcement.