Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to sever ties with Israel if the state makes an agreement with Hamas, Palestinian sources told Al Hayat, a London based newspaper on Friday.

According to the report, the sources said that Abbas's position caused Egypt to place the internal Palestinian reconciliation at the top of its list of priorities and to reject the "calm first" option.

Abbas said that he had met with Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman in early September. Argaman had tried to persuade Abbas not to sabotage the efforts to arrange a settlement between Israel and Hamas and to ensure a Palestinian reconciliation, according to an Israeli source on Monday. According to the report, Argaman told Abu Mazen that this is a historic opportunity and it would be a shame to waste it.

Because of this change in priories, Hamas might be forced to seek alternatives other than direct talks with Israel towards a calm agreement, including possibly reaching a truce with Israel but having PLO delegate Azzam al-Ahmad sign the agreement.

The sources also said that Hamas sought calm over Palestinian reconciliation because of the unacceptable conditions imposed by the PA, including handing over responsibility for the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has a few other options, but all are difficult for them: disarmament; a total collapse of the social and economic situation in the Gaza Strip; or a popular revolt in Gaza, which will lead to thousands of casualties and war with Israel. Hamas rejected these options and decided that maintaining the status quo of quiet would be the lesser of all evils.

The source said that Hamas rejected the conditions of Fatah and referred to them as impracticable. Other factions such as the Islamic Jihad also rejected the conditions.

Yvette J. Deane translated this article.

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