Israel Concerned Over Palestinian Security Bodies Training in Russia

Fatah movement Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attends by video conference a meeting with deputy head of the movement's political bureau Saleh al-Arouri (unseen) discussing Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, on July 2, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
Fatah movement Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attends by video conference a meeting with deputy head of the movement's political bureau Saleh al-Arouri (unseen) discussing Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, on July 2, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
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Israel Concerned Over Palestinian Security Bodies Training in Russia

Fatah movement Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attends by video conference a meeting with deputy head of the movement's political bureau Saleh al-Arouri (unseen) discussing Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, on July 2, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
Fatah movement Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attends by video conference a meeting with deputy head of the movement's political bureau Saleh al-Arouri (unseen) discussing Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, on July 2, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Israel fears the quality training Palestinian forces have been receiving in Russia, a report made by Channel 12 revealed.

Since 2007, which marks the severance of Fatah-Hamas ties, Palestinians have been studying at remarkable military Russian academies. Recently, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed students who returned from a battle command and fighting training in Moscow.

Fatah movement Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub said in a joint online conference held with deputy head of the movement's political bureau Saleh al-Arouri that the two Palestinian rival groups agreed to unify their positions against Israeli annexation plan.

Furthermore, secretive talks occurred between both parties to reach a unified strategy against annexation. This was approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and head of Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh.

According to Times of Israel, “The joint declaration by the two main Palestinian factions raised the specter of a return to the Palestinian terror waves of the Second Intifada, when attackers linked to both Fatah and Hamas carried out numerous deadly suicide bombings and other attacks targeting Israeli civilians and soldiers.”

“The dangers for Fatah in collaborating with Hamas are clear, with the two movements having cultivated growing animosity since 2007,” it added.

Bringing Hamas leader al-Arouri on stage, literally and figuratively, gave Rajoub’s bitter criticisms of Israel’s annexation plans — and his vows to resist them, which he has issued several times in the recent past — a sharper edge: Al-Arouri has a USD5 million US State Department bounty on his head for orchestrating multiple acts of terrorism, the website added.

“Many Fatah members might consider a detente with Hamas to be out of the question, a deal with the devil. But Abbas and the leader of Fatah, may be grasping for the popular legitimacy he has long lacked by closing ranks with the terror group,” it said.

Hamas likely hopes the declaration of unity — and the promised anti-occupation coordination to come — will lead to fewer restrictions on its West Bank operations, Neri Zilber, a Tel Aviv-based analyst and an adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said.

He added that Hamas has been banned from operating in the West Bank for years, with both Israeli and Palestinian security forces regularly cracking down on its activities and arresting its members.

“Yet, Abbas has already suspended security cooperation with Israel. If Fatah is indeed now willing to coordinate with Hamas, it may turn a blind eye to the terror group’s violence, or even actively encourage it,” Zilber stated.

According to Rajoub, Fatah will try and mobilize West Bank Hamas cadres to participate in mass demonstrations. But if the coordination announced Thursday means giving Hamas cadres a freer hand to organize in the West Bank, terror activities against Israelis could resume in and from the area.



White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Saturday that mediators for Qatar and Egypt plan to engage Hamas militants soon to see if there is a way to push ahead with a Gaza ceasefire proposal offered by US President Joe Biden.

Sullivan spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Ukraine peace summit and was asked about diplomatic efforts to get an agreement for Hamas to release some hostages held since Oct. 7 in exchange for a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks.

Sullivan said he had spoken briefly to one of the main interlocutors, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and that they would speak again about Gaza on Sunday while both are in Switzerland for the Ukraine conference, Reuters reported.

Hamas has welcomed the ceasefire proposal, but insists any agreement must secure an end to the war, a demand Israel still rejects. Israel described Hamas's response to the new US peace proposal as total rejection.

Sullivan said that US officials have taken a close look at Hamas's response.

"We think some of the edits are not unexpected and can be managed. Some of them are inconsistent both with what President Biden laid out and what the UN Security Council endorsed. And we are having to deal with that reality," he said.

He said US officials believe there remains an avenue to an agreement and that the next step will be for Qatari and Egyptian mediators to talk to Hamas and "go through what can be worked with and what really can’t be worked with."

"We anticipate a back-and-forth between the mediators and Hamas. We’ll see where we stand at that point. We will keep consulting with the Israelis and then hopefully at some point next week we’ll be able to report to you where we think things stand and what we see as being the next step to try to bring this to closure," he said.