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Israel demands 'Hamas gives up arms before recognising reconciliation deal'

Netanyahu last week said reconciliation worked against a peace deal with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 October, 2017

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The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet he would cooperate with the new Palestinian government in Gaza, but would not follow the US' example by recognising the deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Monday that he would not recognise a recent reconciliation deal between the two main Palestinian parties.

Netanyahu said he would not try to scuttle last week's power-sharing deal between Fatah and Hamas, but would refuse to follow the US' example by acknowledging its existence.

The prime minister acknowledged his government would cooperate with PA border guards in the Gaza Strip, in order to improve conditions and prevent a "humanitarian crisis".

He also ignored right-wing cabinet members' demands to cut communication channels with the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu had previously slammed the landmark deal last week, saying it would make peace with Israel "much harder to achieve".

The decision by the security cabinet announced in a statement that negotiations would not be held until a range of conditions were met - and it seemed unlikely that all demands could be reached.

"The government of Israel will not carry out political negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas - a terror organisation which calls for the destruction of Israel - until it fulfils the following conditions," the statement said.

The security cabinet gave a list of seven conditions:

- Hamas will recognise Israel and desist from terrorism, as per the Quartet conditions

- Hamas must be disarmed

- IDF fallen and Israeli civilians held by Hamas must be returned

- The Palestinian Authority (PA) must exercise full security control in Gaza, including at the crossings, and prevent smuggling

- The PA will continue to act against Hamas terror infrastructures in [the Occupied West Bank]

- Hamas will sever its ties with Iran

- Funds and humanitarian equipment will continue to flow into Gaza only via the PA and the mechanisms that have been established for this purpose"

Palestinians and Arab neighbours have applauded the deal between Hamas and Fatah, which ends over a decade of deadlock between the two sides.

The deal should improve conditions for Gaza residents living under Hamas rule, who have suffered from blockades by neighbouring Egypt and Israel, as well as efforts by the Palestinian Authority to suffocate the economy.

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