The Israeli Human Rights group, Gush Shalom, issued a press statement on Thursday welcoming the reconciliation agreement between the two Palestinian rival groups Hamas and Fateh in Cairo on Wednesday.Former Knesset Member Avnery, Gush Shalom activist, said ‘I wholeheartedly welcome the agreement reached by the Palestinians in Cairo. Palestinian unity, overcoming the malignant split, are not a threat to Israel, but a top Israeli interest. β€œ

β€œThe State of Israel can and must reach a peace agreement with the entire Palestinian people, with all its factions, through a Palestinian Unity Government which represents them all. ‘ Avnery added.

Earlier on Wednesday delegations headed by Musa Abu Marzoka, member of Hamas Politburo member, and Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fateh central committee started talks to reach the long awaited unity deal mediated by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabeel al-Arabi.

In a first response to the Fateh-Hamas reconciliation deal the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority must decide whether it wants peace with Israel or reconciliation with Hamas.

Responding to PM Netanyahu statement, Avnery said ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu responded with the predictable futile refusal and rejection, and proved that his government has no solution and no way forward.

The State of Israel destroyed the previous Palestinian Unity Government, resulting in a lot of bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians alike, a serious error which must not be repeated.”

Avnery continued to say β€œ The State of Israel should support and encourage Palestinian unity, and contribute its share by opening the ‘Safe Passage’ between Gaza and the West Bank – as Israel undertook to do in the Oslo Agreement but never implemented. ‘

The Islamic movement, Hamas, is at loggerheads with Fatah, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, since Hamas won the parliamentary elections in January of 2006. In the summer of 2006 Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip ending months of bloody conflict with Fatah allied security forces.

Egypt and other Arab countries past attempts of reaching a reconciliation deal between the two largest Palestinian factions have failed.