(photo credit: Reuters)
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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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
Berlusconi praised Israel for being the only true democracy in the
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
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
“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.
said it remained to be seen if the EU would support such a unified
“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.
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.
greatly prefers the option of an immediate restarting of negotiations to
unilateral moves,” Standley wrote.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to