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Fatah refuses to toe US line, says unity deal with Hamas will remain intact

Thursday October 19, 2017 6:09 PM, & Agencies

Hamas fatah Unity

The Fatah faction of Palestinian resistance group on Thursday rejected outright the United States demand "to disarm Hamas and recognise Israel" before the formation of a unity government in Gaza.

As reported by AFP, a top aide to US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that an emerging Palestinian unity government must recognise Israel and disarm Hamas.

"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognise the state of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties - including to disarm terrorists - and commit to peaceful negotiations," Jason Greenblatt, the US president's special representative for international negotiations, said.

"If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements," he added, referring to the Middle East Quartet's requirements.

The quartet, which comprises the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia, was established in 2002 to aid the peace process.

However, talking to Al Jazeera after the US official's statement a Fatah spokesman said that the national unity deal between Hamas and Fatah is an "internal Palestinian matter" that will help bring peace.

"The deal that we signed with Hamas talks about building a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders - which is in line with international law," Osama Qawasmeh said when asked about the comments made by an American government official on Thursday.

A Hamas official too rejected the comments by the US official as "blatant interference" in Palestinian affairs, but did not say directly whether it planned to comply with any of the demands.

Fatah and Hamas, the two dominant parties in Palestinian politics, signed a unity deal in Cairo last week, in an effort to end a decade of divide between them.

Hamas has been the de-facto ruler in the Gaza Strip since 2007 after the party defeated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' long-dominant Fatah party in parliamentary elections.

When Fatah refused to recognise the vote, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in an armed conflict, after which Israel imposed an airtight siege on the territory.

The two groups have governed the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively ever since.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would refuse any diplomatic talks with the unity government if Hamas had any role in it, according to Al Jazeera.

"Following previous decisions, the Israeli government will not hold political talks with a Palestinian government that is supported by Hamas, a terror organisation calling for the destruction of Israel," the statement read.

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