Thursday, April 28, 2011

Israel Slams Hamas-Fatah Unity Agreement

Israel slams Hamas-Fatah unity deal

Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:30AM

Israel has slammed a deal between the Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions to form an interim unity government and hold elections within a year.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that "with this accord, a red line has been crossed," AFP reported on Thursday.

Tel Aviv could “freeze the transfer of taxes collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority,” Lieberman said.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also commented on the issue saying that "the latest events do nothing but reinforce the necessity of relying only on ourselves.”

He boasted that the Israeli army and security forces “will use an iron fist to deal with any threat and challenge.”

Delegations representing Hamas and Fatah came to an understanding on Wednesday in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where they resumed unity talks.

Shortly after the deal was announced, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas must "choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas."

The latest deal is expected to be followed by signing of a reconciliation agreement between all Palestinian factions in Egypt.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since the former won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006.

Fatah set up headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, with Hamas arguing that the faction works in cahoots with Tel Aviv.

Last year, Hamas complained about an arrest campaign against its members led by the so-called security forces functioning under Fatah's leader, Mahmoud Abbas, declaring that its rival faction works "in close coordination with those of the Israeli occupiers" in the West Bank.

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