News of the rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas has not been welcomed by Israel. Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh working together will prove to be the very antithesis of peace, according to the government in Tel Aviv.
“As long as Hamas is committed to violence, and violence only, we don’t see how the Palestinian government can play any constructive role, and we will have to take our precautions,” was the opinion voiced by Yigal Palmor from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Israel has already taken what it says are precautionary measures. Sixty million euros in customs duties and tax revenue should have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority. But Israel has withheld it, out of fears, it says, that the money would go towards financing Hamas.
However, the real drama is likely to play out on the international stage. The Palestinians hope to have their right to an independent state recognised by the UN in September. Israel and the United States are vehemently opposed to the idea. The Israeli government says this is akin to opening the door and inviting Iran in.
“What needs to be done is to prevent those efforts of the Palestinians to get the recognition in the UN Assembly to have a new Palestinian state, because if we will give them the recognition it will help the Iranians to build one more front base here within the Middle-East,” said Vice Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom.
There are those who say this new partnership between the Palestinians will make kick-starting peace negotiations even harder. The talks foundered last September, after Israel refused to extend its 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank.