‘Real progress’ in unifying Hamas and PA says Abbas aide

Hamas hasn’t sought ministerial roles yet but insists on a clear path to a Palestinian state for the unity deal.

By Akiva Van Koningsveld, JNS

The Palestinian Authority is inching closer to an agreement that would see Hamas terrorists become part of the Western-backed leadership in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Arabic media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Sources in Ramallah told Sky News Arabia that Hamas approved a three-phase plan leading to “complete reconciliation [with Fatah]” and the Gaza-based terror group joining the Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the Palestinian Authority, under a “unified Palestinian-Arab vision.”

The Islamist group reportedly also gave its blessing to P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s proposal to establish a “government of technocrats” whose primary purpose would be the reconstruction of Gaza after the war prompted by Hamas’s murder of some 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7.

According to Sky News, Hamas has not requested any ministerial posts at this point, but it did demand a “clear political horizon” towards establishing a Palestinian state as a condition for the unity deal.

Hamas openly seeks to destroy Israel in its entirety and replace it with a Palestinian-Islamic state. Article 13 of its charter states that “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad [holy war].”

Read  WATCH: Close Call - IDF soldier ambushed by Hamas terrorist at point blank range

Hamas terror leader Ismail Haniyeh repeated his desire to annihilate the Jewish state early last year, saying that “all of Palestine, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, and from Ras al-Naquora [Rosh Hanikra on the Israel-Lebanon border] to Umm al-Rashrash [Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city], is one land that is indivisible and cannot be sold or bargained.”

The 1995 Oslo II Accords with Israel state that “the nomination of any candidates, parties, or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration once made will be canceled, if such candidates, parties, or coalitions … commit or advocate racism or pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means.”

An aide to Abbas told The Media Line on Tuesday that there was “real progress” in the talks with Hamas and emphasized that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are “playing a critical role in advancing the efforts.”

Earlier this week, at the invitation of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Abbas traveled to Doha to discuss ways to incorporate Hamas into a P.A.-led government for Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Saudi-based Asharq News reported that Tamim agreed to relay Abbas’s proposal to Hamas following their meeting on Monday.

Hamas officials told the outlet that while it welcomes cooperation with the P.A., the terrorist group demands to be consulted on “every step,” including the members of the prospective government.

Qatar, which hosts Hamas’s leadership in Doha and has provided the terrorist group with hundreds of millions of dollars, played a prominent role in mediating the release of Israeli hostages last year.

It has previously deflected accusations of playing a double game, saying the United States requested that it open that mediation channel.

The Biden administration wants the P.A. to assume control of Gaza after the war against Hamas ends, a move that Israel vehemently rejects because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has insisted that an “effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority” should ultimately govern the Strip.

During a Jan. 10 meeting in Ramallah, Blinken pressed Abbas on “administrative reforms, which, if implemented, would benefit the Palestinian people.” Sky News Arabia described the tête-à-tête as “tense” and marked by “arguments.”

On Jan. 27, Abbas’s spokesman told Al Arabiya that the P.A. is prepared to hand over the reins to Hamas after the conflict. Ramallah is “prepared to hold general elections, and if Hamas wins, the president will hand over the [Palestinian] Authority,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.

Read  How Hamas destroyed Gaza’s economy

The U.S. State Department has refused to rule out Hamas retaining power in Gaza or even joining a P.A.-led governing body that would also have jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria.

According to Palestinian polls, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by Abbas’s Fatah faction.