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PM: Israel won't negotiate with PA if Hamas joins gov't

December 25, 2011 21:20

Netanyahu says Israel won't let Palestinian state become launching ground for rockets like Gaza, Lebanon; repeats that he's willing to meet Palestinians "anytime, anyplace."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu 311. (photo credit:Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear Sunday night that Israel will not engage in any negotiations with the Palestinian Authority if it enters into a unity government with Hamas.

Speaking at the annual conference of the heads of Israel's delegations abroad, meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Netanyahu stated that the turmoil in the Middle East must be taken into consideration in any future negotiation with the Palestinians.

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"Progress in the diplomatic process is dependent on Israel preserving and guarding its security needs which are much more difficult given the changes in the region," Netanyahu said.

The prime minister said that Israel is "not prepared to allow a Palestinian state to turn into Gaza or Lebanon," meaning a territory from which thousands of rockets are launched into Israel.

He stated that although it was not a pre-condition for peace talks, Palestinians would eventually "have to accept Israel as the national home of the Jewish people."

Netanyahu repeated his refrain that he is "willing to meet with the Palestinians anyplace anytime."

Speaking at the conference earlier on Sunday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that, with the Middle East in turmoil, now is not the time to think that a peace agreement with the Palestinians can be reached any time soon.
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