Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that Israel had threatened to cut ties with the PA if the PLO and Hamas formed a government of national unity, but added that he was prepared to respond to the threats.
According to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, Abbas made the statements during a visit of French solidarity activists in Ramallah.
He reportedly said that the unity government should be formed by Monday, and would be "composed of independents and experts, not members of Fatah or Hamas or any other organization."
Abbas stressed that the PA was taking “Israeli threats” seriously and would be prepared to respond if Israel followed through and cut ties with the PA.
"We will take things step by step and we will not be the ones who initiative. We will respond against any action. When Israel decides to prevent us from (accessing) the money that it collects on our behalf -- as opposed to the three percent that it takes (currently) that is not their right -- we will have a response," he threatened.
He also stressed that Israel had no reason to boycott the national unity government, as it would merely continue policies the existing policies of the PA.
"The policy of the (unity) government is our policy. ... The government will adopt (the policies) that we have adopted. The government recognizes the state of Israel. The government recognizes international law," claimed Abbas.
"Where is the mistake that Israel is opposing this government for?"
"Israel wants to boycott us because we made an agreement with Hamas ... but Hamas is part of our people," he added.
The Hamas-Fatah unity agreement, announced in April, aims to bring an end to the longstanding feud between Fatah and Hamas, which began in 2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup and started cracking down on Fatah officials living in the territory.
In response to the pact, Israel pulled out of the peace talks with the PA and imposed sanctions on the PA.
Despite Abbas’s continued claims that the unity government will adhere to his policies, Hamas has continued to be adamant over its full control of the new government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that its Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.