Hamas-Fatah accord gets mixed reactions
JERUSALEM / BRUSSELS
Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani (C), Palestinian President Abbas (L) and Hamas leader Mashaal attend a signing ceremony in Doha. AFP photoIsrael has warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to choose between Israel and Hamas,
slamming the recent deal between Fatah and Hamas. Despite the warning, the European Union gave support to the deal while the U.S. has refused to affirm or condemn it.
Abbas will have chosen to “abandon the path of peace” if he implements a reconciliation deal with Hamas signed Feb. 6, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. His statement was issued shortly after Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal signed the deal in Qatar that will see Abbas serve as the head of an interim consensus government in the run-up to elections this year.
EU vows aid
“If Abbas implements what was signed in Doha, he chooses to abandon the path of peace and join himself to Hamas,” Netanyahu said. Israel has made clear its opposition to the agreement, warning Abbas that he could not reconcile with Hamas while also holding talks with Israel. “I have said several times in the past that the Palestinian Authority must choose between an alliance with Hamas and peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said Feb. 6. However, the deal received the EU’s qualified support Feb. 6, with the union saying it considered Palestinian reconciliation and elections important steps toward Middle East peace.
“The EU has consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind Abbas as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
“The EU looks forward to continuing its support, including through direct financial assistance, for a new Palestinian government that should uphold the principle of non-violence.” The U.S. has refused to affirm or condemn the deal, saying it was an internal affair. “As we’ve said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Feb. 6.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.