In an emergency meeting Monday, the Arab League pledged financial support for the new Palestinian unity government, which is set to be established in the next five weeks.
Citing Israel’s threat of sanctions against the Palestinians following the deadline for the peace talks mediated by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the permanent League envoys decided to contribute millions of dollars to the Palestinian coffers, as well as to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
During the emergency meeting, the envoys praised the recent reconciliation pact between Fatah and Hamas, declaring their “full support of this accomplishment” and urging the two Palestinian factions to implement the agreement between them quickly.
The Arab League leadership then congratulated the Palestinians for a move that is likely to “enhance the Palestinian position and the unison of its decisions on the national scale towards challenges that face its case.”
Political unity, the leaders said, would serve as “fundamental insurance” for the Palestinians in their efforts to achieve independence and sovereignty.
Last week, a seven-year-old rift between rival Palestinian factions seemingly ended as officials from Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government and hold new elections.
Members of both factions announced the deal at a press conference in Gaza following two days of negotiations.
The deal calls for a unity government to be formed within five weeks and for presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections to be called within six months of the government taking form, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said.
Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PLO have been at loggerheads since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas organization seized Gaza from Abbas, leaving him with only parts of the West Bank. Both sides have become entrenched in their territories, with Hamas using Gaza to fire thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, drawing two large scale Israeli offensives.
After praising the Palestinians for the nascent unity deal, the Arab League leaders turned to criticism of Israel, lambasting its continued settlement expansion and “dangerous violations” on the Temple Mount, and saying that no peace would be achieved without a Palestinian state — and without Israel’s cooperation.
Blaming Israel for the “critical deadlock” in the talks due to its refusal to carry out its commitments, the envoys reiterated that the Arab League would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and that the Palestinians too should not concede to Israel’s demand to do so.
Instead, the envoys called on the Palestinian leadership to appeal to international bodies and conventions, as it did in early April as the talks ground to a standstill.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.