Israel plans to work against the inclusion of Hamas candidates in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections that are due to be held within the next six months in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement in this regard on Monday following an emergency security cabinet meeting held hours after a swearing in ceremony for the newly united Fatah-Hamas interim government was held in Ramallah.
The security cabinet said that Israel would “act, including in the international arena, against the participation of terrorist organizations in elections.”
It stressed that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians as long as Hamas was part of the Palestinian government. It noted that the government had already voted on April 24th to suspend these talks and that this decision still held.
“The State of Israel will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that backed by Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.
"Today, Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas]
said yes to terrorism and no to peace. This is the direct continuation of Abu Mazen's policy of refusing peace,” Netanyahu said.
In reaction the security cabinet also authorized Netanyahu to impose additional sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, but it did not elaborate as to what those steps might be.
The cabinet warned the Palestinian Authority that Israel would hold it responsible for “all actions that harm the security of Israel which originate in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.”
In addition the security cabinet agreed to form a team to consider additional Israeli reactions in light of the security and diplomatic reality.
Netanyahu reflected on the US led nine-month negotiating process that came to a halt at the end of April when Fatah announced plans to unify with Hamas.
To jump start that process, Israel released 26 Palestinians involved in terror attacks against Israelis and another 52 such prisoners in the months that followed.
“While Israel has carried out courageous and painful steps on behalf of the diplomatic process and continues to be committed to peace, Abu Mazen has refused to extend the negotiations, has rejected the American framework document, continues to incite against Israel, has unilaterally acceded to UN treaties and has now forged a pact with the Hamas terrorist organization,” Netanyahu said.
Now he added, “Abu Mazen has forged a pact with the Hamas organization, which is responsible for the murder of over 1,000 innocent Israelis and the firing of thousands of missiles at Israeli cities.”
“In recent days, the leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization have reiterated their commitment to the path of terrorism and to the elimination of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.