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Hamas, Fatah to unify efforts against annexation plan

Fatah official: Unity 'will inspire us to build a strategic vision, to lead the street'

The Hamas and Fatah have agreed to unite to confront Israel's planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, they said in a statement yesterday.

Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas' Political Bureau, and Major General Jibril Rajoub, secretary of Fatah's Central Committee (FCC), took part in talks, with the Fatah official saying the reaction to the annexation decision showed a popular consensus to counter the plan, adding unity "will inspire us to build a strategic vision, to lead the street".

He added: "We want to open a new page with Hamas and introduce a new model for our people and families, especially since the regional position has not dealt in any way with the annexation project."

Rajoub called on "the Arab and Islamic world to respect the decisions of the Arab summits regarding normalisation and not to establish relations with the occupation, because there are those who want to use us as a bridge to have ties with Israel, either secretly or in public."

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"Netanyahu and his failed government are in a state of contradiction with the international community, and it is our duty today in Fatah and Hamas to keep this state of contradiction in place."

For his part, Al-Arouri said that "all contentious issues will be frozen, and we will overcome it for the sake of a strategic and substantive agreement to resist the occupation."

He said that the annexation plan "requires us to stand with each other in a sincere endeavour to thwart the occupation's project."

Israel, he explained, sees the West Bank as an integral part of the Zionist state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set 1 July as the date to start annexation of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley, this however was postponed as no agreement could be made on the endeavour with US officials.

Palestinians believe Israel's plan will see the occupation state illegally seize 30 per cent of the West Bank. They have said they are no longer bound by treaties agreed with Israel if annexation goes ahead.

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