Israel says new Palestinian unity pact threatens Middle East peace process

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Israel says new Palestinian unity pact threatens Middle East peace process

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The signing of a landmark unity pact between rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas has been criticised by the United States, the European Union and Israel.

All three which view Islamist Hamas as a terrorist organisation, said it would complicate peace talk efforts.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was more pointed in his response:

“We’re trying to re-launch the negotiations with the Palestinians. Every time we get to that point, Abu Mazen (referring to Abbas) stacks on additional conditions which he knows that Israel cannot give. So instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas and he has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other.”

Palestinians in both Fatah controlled West Bank and Hamas run Gaza have welcomed the deal.

One Ramallah resident said: “Frankly I feel happy that they reached a reconciliation and I hope they will continue to unite both sides of the homeland, and they will end the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.”

“We’ve been waiting for this moment and for the reconciliation for a long time. We were divided into two states, one in Ramallah and one in Gaza. This is not right, we are one people,” said a Palestinian in Gaza City.

The agreement aims for a unity government within five weeks and national elections six months later. But reconciliation dreams have been repeatedly dashed in the past. Since 2011 the two sides have failed to implement an Egyptian-brokered unity deal over power sharing disputes.