Palestinians not optimistic about peace with new Israeli government

May 9th, 2012 - 1:09 am ICT by IANS  

Ramallah/Gaza, May 8 (IANS) Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Islamic Hamas movement officials said Tuesday that they see no big hope in reviving the stalled peace talks with Israel after Israel’s Likud and Kadima parties agreed to form an unity government.

Nabil Shaath, member of the central committee of the Fatah party said this agreement “will bring no new to the Palestinian-Israeli relations as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies remained in place”, reported Xinhua.

Shaath told Xinhua that Netanyahu “doesn’t recognize the Palestinian people’s right to have their independent state” on the territories that Israel occupied in 1967.

“Reshuffling governments, changing them or even going to early elections are not the basic things as long as Netanyahu avoids the requirements of the peace process and sticks to his settlement policies,” Shaath said, referring to Jewish settlement activities in the West Bank.

Netanyahu suddenly struck a deal with head of the opposition Kadima party Shaul Mofaz, cancelling early elections that had been scheduled in September.

Mofaz, who will be Netanyahu’s deputy, has often criticized the prime minister for his aggressive focus on Iran, saying that imminent threat to Israel came from the Palestinians, as the peace talks have been stalled for nearly a year and a half.

Mofaz said early that he will work on restarting the negotiations with the Palestinians, giving them 60 percent of the West Bank and negotiating the rest. The main settlement blocs will remain in place and the Palestinians will get other land spaces in return, according to the Israel Radio.

Nemer Hammad, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that any Israeli government will be judged according to its actions on the ground regarding the Palestinian cause, adding that the upcoming Israeli government should halt settlement activities and recognize the two-state solution.

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the executive committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), accused Netanyahu of ” manoeuvering” to reduce internal public pressure on his government, which did not make progress in peace with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, a senior official in the Hamas government, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Tuesday that the Israeli announcement of forming a unity government represents a serious threat to the Gaza Strip.

Yousef Rezqah, an aide to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya said in a press statement emailed to Xinhua that the new government, both the Likud and Kadima are determined to form “will be a reason for various troubles in the Arab world as well as in the entire region, mainly against Iran”.

“Mofaz, leader of the Kadima Party, was the mastermind of most of the assassinations of the leaders of the Palestinian resistance, and he is the one who will form with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the unity government in Israel,” said Rezqah.

The prominent Hamas leader said that the structure of the new government in Israel “shows that the Israeli society and the leaders of its parties are completely going towards the manner of extremism and killing, and they don’t go to the side of finding a just solution to the Palestinian cause”.

The peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since October 2010 after the Israeli government refused to halt settlement activities in the territories it occupied in 1967.

The two sides, together with the international mediators, mainly the United States and Jordan, had failed to resume the peace talks following six weeks of exploratory talks. The Palestinians insist that they will never resume the talks before Israel completely halts settlement.

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