Member of Knesset (MK) Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab-majority Joint Arab List faction, participated in a press conference in which Hamas and Fatah leaders declared they would join forces to fight Israel.
Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy head of the Hamas movement sitting in Lebanon, and Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub, sitting in Ramallah, stated during Thursday’s online conference that the two rivals have decided to put their differences aside and coordinate their fight against Israel as it plans to declare sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria.
The Deal of the Century, officially titled “Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future,” calls for the Israeli annexation of some 30% of the territory in Judea and Samaria already under its control, with the remaining 70% becoming a Palestinian state.
Al-Arouri announced that Fatah and Hamas were freezing all their disagreements to reach a strategic agreement to contend with the “existential threat” posed by Israel’s plans.
Hamas and Fatah will operate together, “as during the first and second intifadas,” in which thousands of Israelis were killed.
Rajoub claimed that until now Fatah has been resisting peacefully, but once Israel declares sovereignty, Fatah will “re-examine the matter, it is a declaration of war on us, the occupation is the enemy, we will not wave a white flag, we will not die alone and we will not suffer alone.”
Rajoub and Al-Arouri welcomed Odeh and lauded him for honoring them with his presence in Ramallah as he sat beside Rajoub.
Odeh stated he was in Ramallah to “support the inner-Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Reconciliation between the factions is a necessary step in combating annexation, ending the occupation and achieving a just peace.”
The continued schism between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Fatah in Ramallah “serves only those who wish to continue the occupation and the establishment of apartheid,” he added.
The Likud slammed Odeh for “slumping to a new low. There is no limit to shame.”
MK Shlomo Karai, of the Likud party, submitted a complaint to the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.
“Beyond the threats of violence, the mere participation of an Israeli Member of Knesset (even through Zoom) with a murderous terrorist organization is something that is unacceptable, this is support for terrorism for all intents and purposes and the Ethics Committee must punish him [Odeh] severely,” he wrote in the complaint.
Saleh Al-Arouri is a founding member of the Hamas military wing and is thought to be the mastermind of the abduction and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Ifrach in 2014, as well as the 2015 killing of Eitam and Naama Henkin, who were gunned down while driving near the community of Elon Moreh in Samaria.
Speaking from Kuwait with TPS in January, Rajoub said that “any plan that does not guarantee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and which does not result in the division of Jerusalem, will be a disaster for both peoples, both Israeli and Palestinian.”