PA Threatens 'Diplomatic Offensive' Against Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is preparing a diplomatic offensive against Israel with the help of Arab countries, in order to thwart Israel's attempts to impose sanctions on the new Fatah-Hamas unity government and to take unilateral steps in Judea and Samaria.
Azzam Al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official in charge of negotiating with Hamas, said in an interview with the Al-Sharaq Al-Awsat newspaper Tuesday that the Arab delegation will be leaving soon to New York and Washington, in an effort to maintain contact with US Secretary of State John Kerry about Israeli policy, and to mobilize international support for the PA position.
In another context, Ahmed said that the PA demanded that Hamas not interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt, to shake off its association with the Muslim Brotherhood and accept the "National Program" of the PA. This includes the so-called "four Palestinian principles": recognizing Israel, recognizing the terms of international agreements, and the explicit rejection of violence and terrorism.
An Egyptian official recently said that if those steps of cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and not interfering in Egyptian matters were taken, the Nile state would be willing to hand the Rafah Crossing between Sinai and Gaza over to the unity government's supervision.
Ahmed also said that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will visit Gaza only after the government will receive the security mechanisms and strengthen them, and they become part of the security protocols for a unified Palestinian state.
The US and EU stated that they are willing to "work with" the Hamas-Fatah unity government earlier this month, as officials protested repeatedly that the new government - while backed by Hamas - does not support terror, claiming it lacks the official presence of Hamas officials. It is worth noting that three Hamas-backed ministers were sworn in from Gaza by live feed to the new government.
The PA's campaign, if true, may be a response to the Ministry of Housing and Construction's announcement last week that it would build 3,300 more homes in Judea and Samaria, which were approved as part of Israel's official response to the swearing-in of the "unity" government.
The PA issued a sharp condemnation of the announcement,calling on the US to take "serious steps" against Israel over the move.
"It is time for the American administration to take serious steps against what the government of Israel is doing," Nimr Hammad, an adviser to Abbas, told AFP. "We strongly condemn this decision which affirms that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a liar and is not interested in the two-state solution."
PA Minister Nabil Abu-Rudeineh has also warned that the PA will take unspecified steps in revenge of the building announcement.