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Custos responds to Palestinian groups' reconciliation deal

(Vatican Radio) Rival Palestinian factions reached a reconciliation agreement on Wednesday. Representatives of the Hamas group and the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced their accord on Wednesday afternoon. Under the terms of the deal, Hamas and Fatah would form a unity government under the umbrella of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

The US issued a statement saying that the deal could hamper peace efforts, since Hamas refuses to recognize the state of Israel. US State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “It's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

The Custos of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM, told Vatican Radio the development calls for attentive observation. “We have had a similar announcement also in the past,” he said, adding, “only in the next days can we have an idea about the concreteness of this announcement.” Fr. Pizzaballa went on to say, “Reconciliation among Palestinians is very important, but at the same time, it is important to keep the relations among Palestinians and Israelis: peace negotiation has to continue,” he said. Listen: RealAudioMP3