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Netanyahu's strategy to avoid negotiations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploits the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation in order to set impossible conditions for resuming talks with the Palestinians.
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Israel's security Cabinet convened in special session Oct. 17 to discuss the recently signed reconciliation agreement between the two major Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas. Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear his view on the deal after it was signed Oct. 12, there did not seem to be any reason for a nonscheduled meeting to adopt decisions that were hardly urgent. Netanyahu told members of his Likud Party Knesset faction Oct. 12 in the settlement town of Maale Adumim, "We expect everyone who talks about a peace process to recognize the State of Israel and, of course, to recognize a Jewish state." Unlike 2014, when Netanyahu threatened to impose sanctions against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the wake of the failed Hamas-Fatah agreement, this time there were no threats.

As previously noted here, neither Netanyahu nor his Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wanted to, or could, vigorously protest the agreement reached with Egyptian mediation and in Egypt's clear-cut interests. The Americans, too, understood that Palestinian reconciliation at this stage could boost the prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process and enhance the standing of Abbas, in addition to garnering broad Palestinian public support.

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