Italy won’t recognize PA gov't that doesn’t accept Israel

Only when all the Palestinian factions agree to renouncing terrorism, accepting Israel's right to exist can there be peace, Berlusconi says.

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May 13, 2011 01:42
2 minute read.
Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi

berlusconi 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Italy will only recognize a Palestinian unity government that has renounced terrorism and accepted Israel’s right to exist, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said late on Wednesday night.

Only when all the Palestinian factions agree to these principles can there be peace, Berlusconi said.

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He spoke ahead of a four-day visit that Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will pay to Israel starting on Saturday. Napolitano will meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday.

Berlusconi made his comments at reception in Rome in honor of Israel’s Independence Day. Italy, he said, was a strong friend of Israel’s and had always stood by it.

Berlusconi praised Israel for being the only true democracy in the Middle East.

On Thursday, Andrew Standley, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, said the EU supported the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas, but was still unsure if it would recognize the unity government being formed.



The EU, like Italy, has said it would only support a Palestinian government that accepts the three principles of the Quartet: renunciation of terrorism, recognition of Israel and acceptance of all past agreements.

“We have always felt that Palestinian reconciliation was an important element for a viable Palestinian state,” the ambassador wrote during a Facebook chat in which he answered questions from participants.

Standley said it remained to be seen if the EU would support such a unified government.

“The EU’s engagement with any new Palestinian government will be based on its policies, commitments and decisions. The EU will be studying the details of the new Fatah-Hamas agreement and its implementation. It looks forward to working with a new Palestinian government that is committed to the two-state solution and to a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,” he said.

With respect to the Palestinian bid for recognition of unilaterally declared statehood in September at the United Nations, Standley said that the EU preferred a negotiated solution.

“An end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should come as a result of a negotiated agreement, which will settle all core issues, including the matter of refugees, and lead to two states living sideby- side in peace and security.

“The EU greatly prefers the option of an immediate restarting of negotiations to unilateral moves,” Standley wrote.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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