US, Israel on Standby as Egypt Pushes Palestinian Reconciliation [Al-Monitor]
“According to the Fatah source, Egypt notified the United States and Israel on the progress of the rapprochement, making it clear that a Palestinian unity government is not only in Egypt's interest, but has positive implications for Israel and the Palestinians as well. Egypt regards such an agreement as vital to a regional peace deal, in which it hopes to play a major role. ... The United States appears to share this view. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who visited Israel and the West Bank at the end of September, updated Netanyahu on the American position on the reconciliation and the significance of such a move for a US peace blueprint soon to be unveiled,” according to Al-Monitor.
PA Government Convenes in Gaza for the First Time in Three Years [The Jerusalem Post]
The Jerusalem Post reports, “For the first time in three years, the Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday held its weekly meeting in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, as well as all of the PA government ministers, traveled to Gaza on Monday in a bid to start work on ending the territorial division between the West Bank and Gaza. … The PA, Fatah and Hamas still have not come to a final agreement as to how the West Bank-based PA will take over Gaza. For example, the two parties have stated contradictory positions on the future of Gaza’s security. The PA would like to take full control of Gaza’s security, while Hamas would like to maintain its armed wing, Izzadin Kassam.”
Amid Reconciliation Efforts, Hamas Rejects Demand to Disarm [The Jerusalem Post]
“Hamas Politburo Chief Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday rejected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s demand that Hamas’s armed wing give up its weapons. … ‘There are two groups of weapons: There are the weapons of the government, the police and security services,’ Haniyeh told Egypt's ONTV in an interview in Gaza. ‘And there are the weapons of the resistance. Regarding the weapons of the resistance, as long as there is a Zionist occupation on Palestinian land, it is the right of the Palestinian people to possess weapons and resist the occupation in all of forms of resistance.’ In an interview with Egyptian television on Monday, PA President Abbas categorically rejected anyone possessing weapons other than the PA government and its security services,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
Netanyahu Backs Greater Jerusalem Bill That Would Annex 19 Settlements [The Jerusalem Post]
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged his support for the Greater Jerusalem bill, which is tantamount to a de-facto annexation of 19 West Bank settlements around the country's capital, including Ma'aleh Adumim. ‘This place will be part of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday during a visit to the city of over 38,000 people. … He further stated that he would advance plans for 4,000 new homes in West Bank settlements after the holidays,” according to The Jerusalem Post.