Katz: reunified Palestinian government is a threat to Israel’s security

JERUSALEM/PNN/

Israeli Minister of Intelligence and member of the Cabinet Yisrael Katz expressed strong opposition to the Return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip, claiming it constitutes a direct threat to Israel’s security.

“Any attempt to bring Mahmoud Abbas back into the Gaza Strip and connect the Gaza Strip to the West Bank via safe passage across Israel will constitute a direct threat and seriously affect the security of the state and the demographic balance between Israel and the Palestinians,” Katz told the Israel Hayom newspaper.

According to Katz, this issue should be brought to the attention of the Ministerial Council. He said that Israel’s policy toward the Gaza strip should be clear “a civil separation between Gaza and Israel and a clear security border between Israel and Gaza.”

“Hamas will never give up power in the Gaza Strip,” said Yisrael Hayom, another junior Likud cabinet member. “Therefore such proposals are unrealistic.”

The newspaper pointed out that less than a year ago other ministers had said the Council of Ministers had taken to deny any kind of relationship between Israel and a Palestinian unity government, which is a necessary stage on the way to restore Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip.

The Council of Ministers made the decision in October 2017 that “the Israeli government will not conduct political negotiations with a Palestinian government lead by Hamas as long as the following conditions are not met:

            The cessation of terror under the conditions of the Quartet

            The disarming of Hamas

            The return of IDF and Israeli civilians detained in the Gaza Strip

            Fully PA security control of Gaza, including crossings and the prevention of smuggling

            The continued dismantling of Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank by the Palestinian                      Authority

            The severance of the relationship between Hamas and Iran

            The introduction of funds and relief materials into Gaza through the Palestinian Authority                   and the organs set up for that purpose.

Katz’ remarks come in the wake of Israeli Channel 10’s discovery of a secret meeting between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on May 22.

Channel 10 quoted American sources as saying that Netanyahu had flown to Sri Lanka secretly for several hours and returned to Israel late.

The two discussed Egypt’s initiative to push for a political agreement in the Gaza Strip, including the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip, a Cease Fire and concreate easing of Israel and Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

They also discussed finding a solution to the issue of the bodies of soldiers and the Israeli citizens detained in Gaza. As well as the US peace plan.

According to the report, Sisi stressed that the solution to the situation in the Gaza Strip should be through the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip.

Sisi added that “Israel, the Arab states and the international community must pressure Mahmoud Abbas to take responsibility for the administration of the Gaza Strip, even though he does not want to.”