In 2006, the then-government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recognized PA
elections that ushered in a Hamas-controlled Cabinet and legislature, Middle East Newsline reported. The
Cabinet did not last long before it was dismantled by PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas, who also heads the rival Fatah movement.
Officials said Israel plans to maintain cooperation with the any PA
government, even one that included Hamas. They said this would include
security and financial cooperation, particularly the relay of tax revenues
from Palestinian laborers employed in Israel.
"Overall, we have to give the Palestinian Authority money," Israel
Security Agency director Yuval Diskin said. "If we, the Americans and the
West do not give money, there will be no Palestinian Authority. This would
be a strategic decision. At the moment, as long as the Palestinian Authority
remains status quo, there is no reason to change our policies toward them
or the security arrangements we have with them."
The Israeli intelligence community has assessed that Abbas would not
significantly change PA policy during any Fatah-Hamas government. Officials
said intelligence agencies doubted whether Fatah and Hamas would agree to
genuine power-sharing or even elections in 2012 — measures cited in
preparation for the establishment of an independent state in the West Bank.
"This [deal] came into being mostly for the sake of appearances in an
attempt to show unity," Diskin said. "From here on, there are many things
both sides don't know how to apply in theory, let alone on the ground."
In a briefing on May 4, Diskin played down the Fatah-Hamas agreement as
well as the prospect of security cooperation between the West Bank and Gaza
Strip. The outgoing ISA chief said Hamas took a tactical decision in working
with Fatah and was driven by a need to improve relations with neighboring
"The chances for a true reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas over the
next two to three years are slim," Diskin said.