JERUSALEM – As the U.S. gears up to push Israeli-Palestinian talks tomorrow, the Palestinian Authority has been engaged in an intense effort to convince the Hamas terrorist organization to join it in a new unity government.
According to a senior PA official, the PA has been sending mediators to Hamas in an effort to persuade it into a unity deal.
The PA is ready to give Hamas full official security control of the Gaza Strip if the Islamist organization agrees to form a unity government, the official said.
In 2007, Hamas seized Gaza from the PA and since then it has maintained a de facto government in the territory. While Hamas largely controls Gaza, the PA still has militias there that are influential in key areas.
The PA official, who spoke to WND yesterday on condition of anonymity, said that Hamas would not need to recognize the existence of Israel as a precondition for entering a new unity government.
He said Hamas is being asked to commit itself to previous Palestinian agreements, which would include those signed with Israel, without actually recognizing the specific agreements with Israel. The PA official admitted this request is seemingly contradictory.
The PA official told WND that recent developments in Egypt and the greater Arab world force the Palestinian leadership to take a public position against the U.S.
“The Obama administration’s abandonment of [U.S. ally President Hosni] Mubarak in Egypt sent a big sign to the moderate Arab world that we can no longer depend on American support,” said the official.
The official further argued that popular sentiment on the Palestinian streets dictates the PA must orient itself away from the U.S.
Indeed, the PA’s official media outlets have been railing against the U.S. in recent weeks, with 28 PA municipalities even announcing boycotts of “the American consulate, its diplomats, and the American institutions in Jerusalem,” according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.
In recent days, activists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, motivated by unrest throughout the Middle East, have been trying to organize their own “Facebook revolutions” and have called for protests against the Palestinian leadership.
In direct response to the protests that already toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the PA two weeks ago announced it finally will hold long delayed parliamentary and presidential elections in September.
As the PA attempts to forge a unity deal with Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel, the U.S. is preparing to call for a new round of talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
Officials from the so-called Mideast Quartet – the U.S., U.N., E.U. and Russia – are planning to meet Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Brussels tomorrow in an effort to jump-start negotiations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has been debating whether to send Israel’s senior negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho, to the Quartet conference.
Netanyahu has publicly voiced his reservations about the conference, fearing that by sending his representative there he would face mounting international pressure to resume talks at a time the Middle East is facing uncertainty and instability.