Major General Kamil Abu Rukun, the outgoing Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), told Kan 11 News on Sunday that Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace and should be treated differently.
"Abbas is a partner. He has proven himself over a period of time that he is against violence. We should have behaved differently vis-à-vis [the Palestinian Authority]," said Abu Rukun.
Commenting on the situation in Gaza and asked how Israel can be certain that Qatari money entering the Gaza Strip with its approval does not flow to Hamas, Abu Rukun replied, "We have created a mechanism that works like clockwork. We know to say unequivocally that there is almost no leakage on this issue."
On Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, which appears to have been abandoned for now, he said, "I feared that the annexation would lead to escalation and violence and would cause a deep shock that would change the situation of the Palestinian Authority."
On the two-state solution, Abu Rukun said, "There are more and more cracks in this story of two states for two peoples. You hear more and more people, especially from the younger generation, talking in terms of universal rights, but the ordinary citizen wants economy and security. There are signs that we are headed in the direction of one state, it is not unreasonable."
Abu Rukun was also asked about the upcoming elections in the PA and replied, "If the elections are held and Hamas takes hold in Judea and Samaria, then it is clear that we will not be in contact with an entity that Hamas is a part. We were there in 2006 and cut off contact with them. We will stop everything. I conveyed such a message to the other side through side channels. They are very concerned about this situation."