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Israel PM Won't Cut PA Ties Over Palestinian Unity Deal

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Despite publicly objecting to Palestinian deal, Netanyahu tells ministers Palestinian Authority ties will remain.

Israel will continue to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority (PA) even if its leading faction Fatah completes a unity deal with Hamas, which Israel has publicly opposed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Tuesday.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers that while he will not recognize the reconciliation process, he also will not derail it because the resumption of PA control will improve humanitarian conditions in the blockaded Gaza Strip, which is in Israel's interest, Haaretz reported quoting sources from the meeting.

He also said that the return of PA control over Gaza would not mean resumption of long-suspended Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Over the past month, Hamas and Fatah have been discussing a unity deal that would allow the PA to return to Gaza, which has been governed by Hamas since 2007, when it took control of the coastal strip from PA forces.

The fallout followed Hamas's victory in Palestinian elections which were rejected by the PA, Israel and much of the international community and has resulted in a decade-long blockade and several rounds of fighting with Israel.

Netanyahu said last week that Israel is opposed to any deal involving Hamas unless the group disarms and recognizes Israel, requests which have also been made by the U.S.

Talks between the two groups will continue in November at a meeting that will involve all of the Palestinian political factions.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in neighboring Syria. 

"Iran needs to understand that Israel will not allow this," Netanyahu told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting in Jerusalem that focused on Iran and its nuclear deal with world powers. 

Netanyahu has made almost daily statements underlining the alleged threat posed by Iran since last week, when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to end the deal, which limits Iran's nuclear program to avoid it developing weapons.

Israel, however, has repeatedly claimed that the deal still allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons in the long-term, which it says would be turned against Israel.

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