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Netanyahu calls emergency cabinet meeting ahead of formal PA-Hamas announcement
By JPOST.COM STAFF
02/06/2014
Cabinet agrees to reduce monetary transfers to Palestinian Authority and confirms decision to halt negotiations.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting Sunday night ahead of the Palestinian Authority-Hamas formal unity government declaration. The announcement is expected to come on Monday at 1 p.m.

During the cabinet meeting, the ministers agreed to completely halt negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as long as it remains united with terror organization Hamas and to lower the amount of  money transferred to the PA.

The Israeli ministers also reconfirmed the decision to deny entry for three Palestinian ministers from Gaza into Ramallah.

Earlier on Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the peace process. Monday’s swearing-in ceremony is expected to sound the death knell for the peace process.

The US has not publicly stated its position on the reunification of the two Palestinian groups, which have been bitter enemies since Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007.

Abbas promised Kerry that the new unity government would recognize Israel and renounce violence. Hamas has not made that pledge and is still committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and the international community must not embrace it,” Netanyahu said.

“This will not strengthen peace; it will strengthen terrorism,” he said.

An Israeli official warned that the moment the Palestinian Authority brings Hamas into its government, it will be hard pressed to maintain its relationship with other countries.

“Hamas is a officially designated a terrorist organization across the planet,” the Israeli official said. The official added that the European Union, Great Britain, and Japan have all declared that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this story.
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