Responding to news that rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas reached a reconciliation agreement in Cairo
on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the
Palestinian Authority must decide whether it wants peace with Hamas or
if it wants peace with Israel.
"The PA must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both," Netanyahu said, repeating the sentiment he has expressed several times in recent months
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The prime minister noted that the Hamas charter calls for the
destruction of Israel and that he cannot tolerate a situation like that
which exists in Gaza - with missiles, rockets and mortars fired into
Israeli territory - to enter the West Bank. "Hamas aspires to destroy Israel and fires rockets at our cities ... at our children," he said.
Netanyahu has given similar statements in recent weeks and months.
Last month, speaking to the Knesset, he said, "How can you talk to us
about peace when you're talking about peace with Hamas. You can choose
[to make] peace with Israel or you can choose peace with Hamas."
Several days later, a senior official in Jerusalem said that Israel
would cut its ties with the Palestinian Authority if it brought Hamas
into its government.
“Abbas has to choose whether he wants peace with Israel, or peace with
Hamas,” the official said. “He can’t have both. If he chooses peace with
Hamas it will bury the peace process.”
Israel’s objection to Hamas inside the PA government would evaporate,
the official added, if the organization accepted the Quartet’s three
conditions for acceptance: forswearing violence, recognizing Israel, and
accepting previous Israel-Palestinian agreements.
Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report
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