Nabil Shaath
Nabil ShaathIsrael News photo: Flash 90

Fatah Central Committee member and PA negotiator Dr. Nabil Shaath said Thursday the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement was essential to the "liberation of Palestine," the PA-run Maan News Agency reports.

The remarks were made during Shaath's Thursday trip to Gaza to conduct discuss a formal response to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech before the US Congress with Hamas leaders.

The visit also aimed at dealing with contentious outstanding issues stemming from the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, and to examine the viability of the PA's bid for a unilateral declaration of PA statehood based on 1967 lines by the United Nations in September.

Shaath told reporters in Gaza that he came to tell everyone that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was determined to go ahead with the reconciliation agreement and rebuild the infrastructure of Gaza.

“We will remain steadfast and we will continue because this is a national and strategic interest,” Shaath said in reference to the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation pact.

“Without it we won’t be able to liberate Palestine and with it we will be able to establish the Palestinian state.”

Shaath's elucidation of the PA goal of liberating “Palestine,” which PA maps still show as including the entirety of the state of Israel, comes as Abbas demands Israel negotiate with him despite Hamas' inclusion in the PA government.

Hamas has said any Israel-PA accord would only serve as a prelude to war.