Hamas ‘Appalled’ by Security Cooperation between PA and Israel

Palestinian security forces. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

One of the most successful arrangements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been their counterterrorism cooperation, a program that has been strongly supported by the United States. Hamas, which is in talks to reconcile with the PA, isn’t just opposed to the security partnership—they’re “appalled” by it.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a press statement last week that his group “is appalled by the on-going security collaboration” between the PA and Israel in the Judea and Samaria region (West Bank). Barhoum, whose statement was published by the Hamas website, said the Israel-PA security cooperation is “considered the greatest danger to the Palestinian people and their legitimate right to resist the occupation.” The term “resistance” can also refer to terror attacks, especially when used by Hamas.

The Hamas comments follow a public confirmation by PA Police chief Hazem Atalla that the security coordination had been resumed by all PA security forces, according to The Jerusalem Post. PA President Mahmoud Abbas had announced a suspension in the cooperation over the metal detectors erected at the Temple Mount to prevent terrorists from bringing weapons to the holy site. Following riots and international pressure, the Israelis chose to remove the metal detectors.

Pointing to the success of the security collaboration, The Jerusalem Post cited Israeli and international media reports as saying the PA security forces have prevent hundreds of attacks on Israelis. As part of those efforts to prevent terror, Israel-PA security coordination has long targeted Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria.

Based on Hamas’ latest comments, it doesn’t appear that the terror group is interested in giving up its efforts to attack Israel and support keeping things relatively peaceful. Instead, Barhoum’s statement last week slammed the Israel-PA cooperation and actually implied it might hinder reconciliation efforts between Hamas and PA.

Said the Hamas spokesman, “We call on the Palestinian people to reject this collaboration and exert pressure on the PA to terminate this shameful policy that harms the interest of our people and proceed towards achieving the national reconciliation in the upcoming Cairo talks.”

Along those lines, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh thinks the reconciliation efforts shouldn’t mean the terror group needs to even recognize Israel.

Haniyeh, commenting on the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) that has recognized Israel and is the primary negotiating partner on peace with Israel, was cited by the Hamas Twitter feed as saying that “it is important for Hamas to participate in the PLO and not to recognize the Israeli occupation state.”

With more talks coming between Hamas and the PA to try and reunite the two groups after years of internal fighting and disagreement, it has become clear that how the Palestinians approach Israel will be a key point of contention.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 12, 2017)

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