Senior PA official: 'Cabinet decision excuse to lead to deadlock'
Senior Palestinian official says Israeli Security Cabinet's decision to condition negotiations on Hamas disarmament only meant to stall negotiations, as Hamas will not be joining the Palestinian government; official adds PA chief Abbas still has significant demands from Hamas, including 'one gov't, one law, one weapon.'
"(The Cabinet members—ed) speak in their decision about a government leaning on Hamas, but in reality there is no Palestinian unity government. The current Palestinian government is identical to the government before the agreement, and to the government that has existed for years, and it does not contain any of Hamas's people," he official said.
Moreover, while the Cabinet's decision did announce the Israeli government will not be negotiating with the Palestinian government, neither political negotiations nor the signing of political agreements were ever conducted with the Palestinian government, but with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, considered the Palestinian people's recognized, legitimate representative.
The Cabinet's decision, the official further added, was merely a "new excuse meant to lead negotiations to a deadlock, since Israel has never wanted the West Bank to reconnect with Gaza."
"It has always been in Israel's interest to keep Gaza separate from the West Bank and weakened," the official added.
The official also said he was not surprised with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement, adding it was just another in a long line of pronouncements meant to dodge any meaningful peace talks.
"When there were talks on a peace process, the Israelis told us, 'How can we reach accords with you when you're not in control of the Gaza Strip?' Now that we're in the midst of a move to regain control of Gaza, the Israelis are saying, 'You're in bed with Hamas terrorists, so why should we negotiate with you?'" the official said.
The official then clarified Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas still had some significant demands from Hamas, and that they were clear and known to the public.
"Abbas wants there to be only one government, one law and a single, solitary legitimate weapon. He has said time and again he doesn't want the Lebanese Hezbollah model to be implemented in Gaza, but we're still a long way away from that. We've only now passed the first hurdle and (Prime Minister Rami) Hamdallah's government wants to be in charge of the strip, to assume control of the border crossings, to care for the problems of the Gazan man on the street and to solve them," he said.
Both the Trump administration and Egypt were deeply involved in the reconciliation process, the source added. "There is constant communication between the office of Egyptian President (Abdel Fattah) el-Sisi and Netanyahu, and between el-Sisi and Washington," he explained.