Fatah, Hamas pledge 'unity' against Israeli sovereignty

Rival factions pledge united effort against Israel's prospective plans to apply sovereignty at Ramallah event. Joint List MK Odeh attends.

Tags: Hamas Fatah
AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub
Flash 90

Rival Palestinian Arab factions Fatah and Hamas pledged a united campaign against Israel's prospective plans to apply sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria, in a rare joint press conference on Thursday.

"We will put in place all necessary measures to ensure national unity" in efforts against Israeli sovereignty, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said in Ramallah at the news conference, also addressed by Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri by video-link from Beirut.

"Today, we want to speak in a single voice," Rajoub said.

Rajoub also declared that Fatah would be changing its years-old policy and allowing Hamas free rein in areas under Palestinian Authority control.

"We are totally aware that we are playing with fire, and that security forces will have to work much harder to maintain order, but this battle has united us," Rajoub said.

Former Communications Minister Ayoub Kara later responded to Rajoub's statement that Hamas would have "free rein" in PA-controlled areas, saying, "This is an extremely serious statement that should ignite a warning light," Kara said. "We have to make it quite clear to the Palestinians that we won't hesitate to do whatever is necessary to protect our citizens in Judea and Samaria, as we have done in military campaigns in the past."

Arouri described the conference as "an opportunity to start a new phase that will be a strategic service to our people in the most dangerous stages."

Among those who participated in the event was Joint List MK Ayman Odeh. Odeh explained his attendance by saying, "I attended the conference in Ramallah in order to support steps toward reconciliation between Palestinian parties."

"This reconciliation is essential in our battle against annexation and for an end to the occupation and the attainment of a just peace. A continuation of the divisions between the parties only serves those who want the occupation to continue and for apartheid to be established. Everyone who supports the two-state solution should support this reconciliation too."

A Likud party statement blasted Odeh's attendance. "This is a new low for Ayman Odeh, taking part in today's meeting along with Hamas representatives who call for the murder of Israelis. This is the person with whom Yair Lapid and Bogie [Moshe] Yaalon wanted to establish a government. Is there no limit to your shame?"

Similarly, writing on Twitter, Deputy Knesset Speaker Sharren Haskel noted that, "The [potential] coalition partners of Yesh Atid and Liberman in establishing a government are also partners of Hamas and Fatah. Anyone who wants to establish a government together with [the Joint List] is endangering the security of the State of Israel."

MK Michal Shir (Likud) has appealed to the Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit, asking that he open an investigation into the conduct of MK Ayman Odeh.

"During this meeting, both Fatah and Hamas announced that they would be launching an intifada against Israel," Shir said. "The participation of a member of the Israeli Knesset in a meeting of this nature, without expressing any opposition to the views stated in it - views promoting violence and incitement to terror - is an extremely serious event, and we should be putting a stop to such incidents, in which MKs abuse their parliamentary immunity from prosecution."

Chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party MK Oded Forer also criticized Odeh.

"Yet again, Ayman Odeh has shown everyone how he takes advantage of his status and benefits [as a MK] and spits in the faces of Israeli citizens. Odeh belongs in the Ramallah parliament, and I would be happy to personally contribute to his moving expenses," Forer said.



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