PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan ‘Ashrawi stated, Thursday, that national unity is a basic prerequisite for empowering the Palestinian state and people and for reinforcing means of popular resistance, including the boycott of Israeli occupation and its settlements.‘Ashrawi called upon the Palestinian people to promote the implementation of reconciliation deal, which she considered as the first of a series of steps that are based on a specific action plan and timetable, WAFA reports.

She noted that a successful reconciliation deal requires sincere and effective will to confront and overcome challenges and obstacles as well as to embody the national unity of the Palestinian people.

Dr. Saeb Erekat, also of the PLO Executive Committee, expressed severe disappointment at Israel’s reaction to the announcement of Palestinian national reconciliation.

‘Netanyahu and his government were using Palestinian division as an excuse not to make peace. Now they want to use Palestinian reconciliation as an excuse for the same purpose. This is utterly absurd. The only logical conclusion is that Netanyahu’s government does not want peace,’ said Dr. Erekat, according to the PNN.

‘Gaza and its population of 1.7 million people, like East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank, are an integral part of the State of Palestine. Today we have taken an important step towards better serving our people.’

‘During the past nine months of negotiations, Netanyahu’s government has increased settlement construction, home demolitions, killings, detentions and military raids; Netanyahu has refused to present a map showing us where the borders of the State of Israel are; and the Israeli government has refused to recognize Palestine’s right to exist on the 1967 border, although the PLO recognized Israel twenty six years ago. And the moment we sign a national reconciliation agreement upon a single political platform that recognizes all previously signed agreements between Palestine and Israel, Netanyahu and his government blame us for the failure of talks.’

‘No, Netanyahu, it is not a case of either peace with Hamas or with Israel. It is either your continuation of settlement activity, colonization and Apartheid, or two sovereign and democratic states living side by side, in peace and security, on the 1967 border. You have chosen the first path, we have chosen the second.’ Dr. Erekat said.

Dr. Erekat concluded: ‘National reconciliation is imperative in order to achieve a just and lasting peace. We hope that we will be able to successfully close this dark chapter of our history.’