Barak: Unity deal unlikely to reach its potential

Lieberman: Hamas-Fatah deal will allow terrorists to roam free; Kadima MK Shai calls new Palestinian gov't Netanyahu's "great failure."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 28, 2011 11:31
2 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Barak speech serious 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool )

 
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The unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah has "dramatic potential" but it is doubtful that it will mature into a joint Palestinian government, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio Thursday morning.

Barak admitted that Israeli intelligence had foreseen a low probability for a reconciliation agreement between the two factions, and noted that Palestinian officials were also skeptical about it.

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On Gilad Schalit, Barak told Israel Radio that he does not know how the unity deal will affect negotiations for the release of the captured soldier.

The defense minister also reiterated Israeli's position that it would not hold any discussions with Hamas, "a murderous organization whose aim is to destroy Israel."

However, he said that if a joint Palestinian government were to rise, Israel would hold talks with the new government only if Hamas would dismantle its terrorist infrastructure and recognize Israel and previous agreements made with the PLO.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also commented on the unity agreement on Thursday, saying the deal means that terrorists will launch missiles from the West Bank.

"A red line has been crossed, and Israel must decide what we are going to do," Lieberman told Israel Radio. "Hundreds of terrorists from Hamas will go free throughout Judea and Samaria.

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"The international community should enforce the terms it gave the Palestinians: abandoning terror, recognizing Israel, and respecting previous agreements," Lieberman said.

He also explained that the agreement between the two Palestinian factions came because of "panic" on both sides. Hamas is concerned that their "patron," Syrian President Bashar Assad, is facing a crisis, and Fatah's no longer has the support of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Lieberman explained.

Kadima MK Nachman Shai called the Hamas-Fatah agreement Prime Minister Netanyahu's "great failure."

"Netanyahu failed to understand the strategic changes in the Arab world and their implications on the Palestinians. The unity between Hamas and Fatah produces a new political and security reality, which surprises Israel and forces it to present a new political program that is not under the control of the prime minister. The result is that the road to international recognition of a unilaterally-declared Palestinian state is open," Shai said in a statement.

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