Israel concerned Fatah and Hamas getting closer

Monday, January 15, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed his concerns Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting, regarding the tightening relations between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas regarding the formation of a unity government in the Palestinian Authority.

The concern in Israel is that such a government will not accept the conditions set by the Quartet and will demand skipping the first stage of the Roadmap which includes dismantling of terror infrastructure in the Palestinian territories.

According to Prime Minister Olmert, Israel is increasing its efforts to reach a practical dialogue with the Palestinians, but it will be difficult to do so if the Palestinians will take steps which are contradictory to the Roadmap and the conditions of the Quartet to recognize a Hamas government.

Head of the Shin Bet Yuval Diskin said during the meeting that the clashes between Hamas and Fatah which caused the death of 20 Palestinians could bring to the formation of a unity government. According to Diskin, the two sides are already working on a formula to distribute the portfolios for the unity government.

Diskin added that as the international blockade on Hamas is more effective, Hamas will be drawn more towards the Iranians, who use this opportunity to give money and training for terrorists.

Diskin said that since the Hamas government was formed, the international and Israeli blockade has worked very effectively. However, since the calming in Gaza and the opening of the Rafah crossing, Hamas has been able to smuggle money into Gaza.

However, Diskin said, Hamas continues to be isolated. It does not get international legitimacy, and until a unity government is established, the probability that the US and Europe will recognize the Hamas government is low.

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