Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says, “If it turns out that Hamas is behind the kidnapping, there will be grave consequences including disbanding the unity gov’t & putting the reconciliation deal on hold.”
The Palestinian Authority is waiting for the “smoking gun” that Hamas was behind the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens so that President Mahmoud Abbas could officially announce the reconciliation deal void and disband the government, a senior official in Abbas’ office told Israel Hayom.
“In reality the reconciliation deal has not been implemented and the unity government does not function,” the official said.
The statements come against the backdrop of Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki’s remarks on Saturday in which he said, “If it turns out that Hamas is behind the kidnapping, there will be grave consequences including disbanding the unity government and putting the reconciliation deal on hold.”
A Hamas spokesperson stated that “Maliki is expressing his personal opinion alone.”
A senior Israeli defense official said over the weekend that “the Palestinian security forces realize that Hamas is behind the kidnapping.” As of now, Fatah backs Abbas’ condemnation of the kidnapping, according to the official.
The Palestinian Authority has taken an active role in the Hamas crackdown, with its security forces arresting Hamas operatives and holding dozens in their jails.
“Fatah realizes that Hamas terrorists are responsible for the kidnapping,” the official said. “[Hamas] essentially tricked Abbas. … Hamas has an incentive to embarrass Abbas, and that could have been the intended goal [of the kidnapping].”
The Palestinian unity government is not in danger because Hamas is not part of it, a senior Hamas official in Gaza City told Army Radio on Sunday. “Hamas agreed to transfer authority of the Gaza Strip to Abbas, but its representatives are not part of his government,” the official said.
According to the official, the current unity government is not a Hamas government, and it is not Abbas’ either. “He says it is ‘his government’ all the time, it is bound to its agreements with Israel. The U.S. recognizes it, the Middle East Quartet recognizes it. Only you [Israel] do not understand what government it is. We may have agreed to form it, but we have no part in it,” he said.
The official, who requested his name not be revealed, said no one in the Gaza Strip knew about the kidnapping before it happened. “You also do not know who is responsible, that’s what is being said by your people. … How can you vilify Abbas and then, the moment there is a kidnapping, make him your hero, and you want his help?”
Asked whether he supported the kidnapping, the official pointed to increasing pessimism among the Palestinians. “The belief people have here that the future will be better is dwindling. They tell their leaders: ‘For 20 years you talked about peace. Nothing has come out of it.’ Life in the West Bank is unbearable, so what do you want from them? We are willing to accept a nation on the 1967 borders, but you will not give us even that. Our people in Hebron suffer at the hands of the settlers, but you also suffer from them.”
With regard to a possible escalation in the Gaza Strip, the official said Hamas wants quiet. “Keeping things quiet is in our interest,” he said. “The people want food, and we want to help them. It is hard to talk about resistance all the time and not mention people’s daily lives. But we have strength, and if you attack then we will use it.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=18311