Tel Aviv, Washington – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received firm messages from the United States and Egypt leaderships, demanding him against “sabotaging” the Palestinian reconciliation deal, political sources in Tel Aviv revealed.
Chances should be given to allow the deal to be a success, they said.
They noted that at first glance, it appears that the PM’s reaction to the reconciliation is negative because he has been demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
He has also been demanding that Hamas be stripped of its weapons and sever ties with Iran.
The sources said that this response is in fact a “moderate” one.
In his first reaction, Netanyahu had said that “we will not accept a fake reconciliation where Palestinians will reach an agreement at the expense of our existence.”
He later added however: “Israel will study the developments on the ground and work accordingly.”
An official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry underlined the premier’s “remarkable” diplomatic rhetoric, while the political sources attributed his position to his desire against harming ties with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
He is also aware that the US administration of President Donald Trump welcomed Cairo’s sponsoring of the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.
Furthermore, Netanyahu realizes that the Palestinian Authority’s return to Gaza, even partially, will serve Israel’s security interest.
Observers believe that Netanyahu was forced to take a more lenient stand, but he is still “unconvinced” of the inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
The premier and other officials in his government are concerned with the reconciliation possible longevity because the Palestinian division had greatly benefited Israel.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett went so far as to describe the government that will be established through the agreement as a “terrorism unity cabinet.”
Other observers said that the reconciliation will be short-lived due to ongoing Palestinian and Arab differences.
Alex Fishman of Yedioth Ahronoth said: “The Cairo talks left Hamas with its tunnels, labs, weapons factories, drones and with the Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades and their naval commandos. In fact, Hamas’s military wing remains as it were—under the direct and exclusive command of Hamas.
“This is why Israel views the agreement signed on Thursday as one that has no chance of being realized, so there’s no reason to even waste energy on trying to sabotage it. Especially as both the American administration and the Egyptians have asked Israel not to interfere,” he noted in an oped on Friday.