Hamas’ Mashaal: Israel is our common enemy
Abbas: Hamas are our brothers
Palestinian imam warns Obama will hang for ‘killing Muslims’
The Hamas - Al Qaeda Connection
Jerusalem, May 4 – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a cooperation agreement today with Iran-backed Hamas which is still committed to destroying Israel, throwing future peace efforts into doubt.
In a Cairo ceremony attended by international dignitaries, Abbas called Hamas “our brothers” and Hamas’ political leader Khaled Mashaal called Israel a “common enemy” to be fought “with force and through diplomacy.”
"What happened today in Cairo is a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Hamas Charter, which remains in force, commits the organization that controls the Gaza Strip to the eradication of Israel. Only two days ago, a top Hamas leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Leading up to the signing, Hamas’ officials reiterated that they will not “recognize Israel” or “renounce violence,” two preconditions to reaching a peace deal, according to the international peace Quartet on the Middle East.
Hamas and its allies have fired 228 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and villages this year. Daniel Viflic, a 16-year old boy who lived near the Gaza border, was killed when a laser-guided anti-tank missile from Gaza hit his school bus last month.
Abbas also outlined the Palestinian demand for Israelis to stop all settlement activity as a precondition to any peace talks.
Israel says the settlements issue is one of several issues to be dealt with in peace negotiations.
World leaders are worried that Fatah’s unification with Hamas, which refers to bin Laden a “holy warrior,” diminishes the “chance for peace” between Palestinians and Israelis.
There are growing signs that bin Laden’s jihadist terror group, al-Qaeda, is active among the Palestinians. Already in 2008, Abbas confirmed that Hamas helped al-Qaeda gain a presence in Gaza.
Today, a Palestinian imam attacked U.S. President Barack Obama, saying, “You personally instructed to kill Muslims. You should know that soon you'll hang together with Bush Junior,” during his sermon at the al-Aqsa mosque.
Hamas’ leaders say that the new PA prime minister should come from Gaza. Salam Fayyad, the current prime minister, is seen as politically moderate.
Despite the fanfare surrounding the agreement, many remain skeptical.
“Hamas does not like Fatah, and Fatah does not like Hamas. This agreement shows that Fatah has lost power and that it is willing to negotiate with a terrorist organization,” Guy Bechor, Arab affairs expert at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center, told The Israel Project.
Background on Hamas-Fatah:
Hamas' Leader Khaled Mashaal:
Our common enemy is Israel. Israel must be fought both with force and through diplomacy. I declare in the name of Hamas that the black page of division is over. We are one people we have one cause, we have joint objectives. I thank the martyrs and those in Israeli prisons
Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 when it ousted Fatah from power. Hundreds died during the fighting.
The Hamas-Fatah divide began in 1988 in the immediate aftermath of the first intifada.
The challenge “deepened after Yasser Arafat took part in the 1993 peace process,” said Jonathan Schanzer, Middle East expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
We are looking for the minimum base of agreement. Hamas is part of us.
You, Mr. Netanyahu, have to choose between settlements and peace. We are ready to go back to the negotiating table given the end of settlements, that is our condition
We will not leave our homeland. We call on the Israelis to commit to the 1967 border…with Jerusalem as our capital
We will not accept one Israeli soldier on our sovereign land
Everyone respects the resistance of the Palestinian people
We must keep up the pressure
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and high ranking official in Gaza, said that the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is a result of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster as president from Egypt.
Amr Moussa, the current Egyptian Secretary General of the Arab League who is known for his opposition to negotiations with Israel, is thought to be next in line for the presidency.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas:
We are turning the page of division forever and gathering momentum to move forward
Hamas are our brothers. They are our family. They are a part of our people. We may differ. But we agree a lot.
Hamas' Leader Khaled Mashaal:
Our common enemy is Israel. Israel must be fought both with force and through diplomacy
I declare in the name of Hamas that the black page of division is over