CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah officials said Saturday that Palestinians must ignore external intervention and foreign pressure in order to ensure political reconciliation is successful.
The comments were made as Palestinian officials met in Cairo for a board meeting of the Yasser Arafat Foundation.
Hamas deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouq said that the United States and Israel want to keep the Palestinian people divided and their foreign policies have a serious impact on unity between factions.
The US administration will "stop aid to the Palestinian Authority if reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is achieved and Hamas joins a Palestinian unity government," the senior Hamas official said.
The US congress will impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian people if unity is achieved, he added, noting that Arab countries must exert pressure to neutralize the influence of the United States so Palestinians can finalize a unity deal.
Senior Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad echoed the Hamas official's remarks, saying that external influences deepen Palestinian rivalries.
"We received threats from America not to go to Cairo to sign the reconciliation document at the time, but we refused these threats and went to sign the reconciliation document."
US influence in the region is the main obstacle to Palestinian unity, al-Ahmad said.
Hamas and Fatah split into separate governments in 2007.
In May 2011, a deal was signed to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, but has yet to be implemented.