President's spokesman says reconciliation a national interest regardless of Israel's position

President's spokesman says reconciliation a national interest regardless of Israel's position

Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah forces in a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007 and previous Egyptian mediation efforts to reconcile the rivals fell short.

While agreeing to turn over all governing responsibilities to Fatah, Hamas has said control of its weapons is not up for negotiation.

In addition, the statement said that Hamas must be disarmed, the bodies of Israeli soldiers and the Israeli citizens held by Hamas must be returned and the Palestinian Authority must assume full security control over the Gaza Strip - including at the border crossings and in the prevention of smuggling arms into the coastal strip. Egypt was heavily involved in brokering the deal, and the U.S. said it hoped this would allow the PA to regain full control over Gaza.

"This is a new excuse meant to lead to a dead end [in peace talks] because for many years Israel didn't want there to be a renewed connection between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip".

Netanyahu's stance matched past demands placed on Hamas by Israel and the worldwide community, that it renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.

At that time the cabinet "unanimously decided that Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for Israel's destruction". Jaafari was killed when a man trying to cross into Egypt blew himself up.

He said "any Israeli remarks will not change the official Palestinian position to move forward with the reconciliation efforts to achieve the hopes and aspirations of our people in ending the division in order to achieve the national project, end the occupation and establish the independent Palestinian state on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital".

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said "this is an unacceptable Israeli interference in Palestinian internal affairs".

Despite statements made earlier by the Israeli Security Cabinet, security officials believe that the chances of a Palestinian reconciliation are close to zero and that the reality on the ground won't change anytime soon.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before holding direct peace talks at the State Department in Washington, DC, Sept. 2, 2010. President Donald Trump's envoy, Jason Greenblatt, has been shuttling throughout the region in search of a formula to restart talks.

There was no immediate comment from Egypt.

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