Tension Mounts Over Truce Deal between Israel and Hamas: Report

19 Aug
6:28 PM

Disagreements within the Netanyahu administration have increased tensions between Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Israeli media reports.

Yedioth Ahronoth daily writes, according to the PNN, that Education Minister Bennett, head of the Jewish House Party, thinks Lieberman’s surrender to Hamas would lead to war, while Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman said Bennett wants to sacrifice Israeli soldiers for his party and political interests.

Minister of Education Bennett attacked the minister of the occupation army, saying “his surrender will bring about a change in relations between coalition partners, we have to fight.”

“Lieberman chose a surrender that would lead to war,” Bennett told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

“His hesitation and his conviction that his talks with Hamas will bring it down and bring security to the residents of the Gaza Strip are nonsense, and irresponsible behavior by Lieberman.

“The Minister of Defense, who announced that he would destroy Hamas and eliminate Haniyeh is now giving them prizes at the expense of the security of the state of Israel,” he said. “Whoever surrenders to terrorism brings terrorism.”

Bennett said that Lieberman surrendered to Hamas because he did not want to fight. He said this approach puts Israel at risk and leads to an inevitable confrontation under conditions favorable to Hamas.

Spokespeople for Lieberman responded by saying that Bennett is willing to sacrifice soldiers for his partisan political interests and that he is not acting responsibly.

They also said Bennett should be focused on his work, preparing for the school year instead of seeking political gains at the expense of Israeli soldiers.

Hamas has said that it is fully committed to an agreement with Egyptian mediators regarding marches on the Gaza border.

However, Israeli Channel 2 reported that the Israeli occupation authority decision to shut down the Rafah crossing, at dawn on Sunday, came in response to Friday’s march. Israeli authorities claimed Hamas had not met its commitments and was allowing demonstrators to reach the wall with several balloons, sparking fire on Israeli farmland.

Meanwhile, hundreds of settlers organized with the support of right-wing ministers such as Naftali Bennett, in protest at the policy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Minister of the Army Lieberman on how they deal with Hamas, criticizing it as a weakening of the Israeli position.

Meanwhile, relations between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt have been strained since President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the current plan for a truce between Hamas and Israel. An Egyptian security source was to announce the plan after the Eid al-Adha holiday.

The majority of Palestinian factions in Cairo agreed to the calm, excluding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who insisted on prioritizing reconciliation at the time of the Palestinian Central Council’s meeting conclusion in Ramallah, on Saturday.

Palestinian sources said that the only faction in Cairo that is not currently agreeing with the truce is the PFLP.

During a bilateral meeting, yesterday evening, the delegation of people in Cairo informed Egyptian intelligence officials that they rejected the truce because they must prioritize reconciliation before the truce.

Palestinian sources familiar with the tension between the PA and Egypt attribute to Abbas the rejection of the truce agreement that Egypt and UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nikolai Mladenov are working to accomplish, along with Palestinian reconciliation.

Sources told Al-Hayat that Mahmoud Abbas is strict on reconciliation and conditions for Hamas’ complete surrender of the Gaza Strip. Abbas wants a single-handed push for power in the Gaza Strip.

A delegation representing the PLO, headed by a member of its executive committee, the Central Committee of the Fateh Movement’s Azzam al-Ahmad, signed a similar truce in 2014.

Hamas rejects Ahmad’s authorit and refuses to hand over the territory.

Fateh has not yet joined the factions’ delegation in Cairo, while a senior source in the movement said that a delegation would travel to Cairo to join the factions there. The meeting has extended with Egyptian intelligence officials.

Spokesman for the Palestinian Resistance Committees in Abu Mujahid said that the meetings, between Cairo and the factions, should be completed after Eid al-Adha.

“We are finalizing the signing of the truce terms on all sides,” said an Egyptian security source. “We expect to announce it next week if Fateh helps us.”

Israeli radio quoted a senior Palestinian source in Ramallah as saying that Abbas would stop transferring any funds to the Gaza Strip if Hamas signs the truce agreement.

The Central Council also continued its rejection of the US ‘Deal of the Century’ until it recanted its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It also considered the US as a partner to the Israeli occupation government and as part of the problem, not the solution for peace.

The meeting also stressed that the PLO is the only group authorized to negotiate with Israel in efforts to calm the Gaza Strip. They reiterated their rejection of efforts to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

And, finally, they warned that the proposal of humanitarian projects, ports and airports outside the borders of Palestine aim to perpetuate the occupation and the destruction of the state and the melting of the Palestinian cause.

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