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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu told the Likud faction in the Knesset Thursday, "Before our very eyes, Hamastan has been established, the step-child of Iran and the Taliban. It's in firing range of our airport, our highways and cities. This has to be a day of soul searching because the writing was on the wall. The policy of giving land for free gave a prize to terror and a winning card for Hamas.
"How are Olmert and Peres getting ready for this challenge? They are moving the fence 500 meters closer to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway (Beit Iksa). They gave more land to the Hamas state. Any land given to Hamas will give more of a front to fire upon us.
"This is a new and dangerous situation. Sharon said he wouldn't let Palestinians in Jerusalem vote. Olmert let them."
The left side of the political map was also very concerned about Hamas's probable win in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Labor Chairman Amir Peretz reiterated Thursday that his party did not consider Hamas a partner for peace negotiations.
"We have no intention of allowing negotiations to take place, or of allowing a third party to force us to recognize an organization that openly seeks to destroy Israel," Peretz said, adding that the apparent Hamas victory in the Palestinian Legislative elections undermined the stability of the Middle East.
Meretz-Yahad chairman Yossi Beilin said that the election results still provided a chance for an agreement with moderate Palestinians. He called on Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to launch peace talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Beilin also warned that if Israel and the PA failed to reach an agreement soon, Hamas would win in the next elections, as well.
National Religious Party MK Zevulen Orlev said that the Hamas victory was the result of Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip. "The Palestinian public recognized that Hamas's suicide bombers and Kassam rockets convinced the Kadima-led disengagement government to uproot Jews from Gush Katif," Orlev declared.
Kadima MK Haim Ramon said Thursday that he failed to understand the consternation that Hamas' seeming victory in the Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections caused among right-wing politicians in Israel.
Ramon told Israel Radio that right-wing politicians had said "over and over" that "Abbas was the same as Hamas," and had called the PA leader "even worse" because he and his Fatah party "hid their true intentions."
National Union chairman Zvi Hendel had claimed Thursday that Hamas showed the Palestinians that terror was the only way by which they could "defeat and expel Israel."
MK Avigdor Leiberman (Yisrael Beitenu) said that the results were "a victory for radical Islam", while MK Effi Eitam, who attempted on Wednesday to disrupt the vote in east Jerusalem, said that Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar "should send flowers to Ehud Olmert."
Former foreign minister and Likud MK Silvan Shalom opined that Israel had made a grave mistake in allowing Hamas to participate in the elections. "The international community will find a way to justify its dealings with Hamas by saying that it was democratically elected - and this after all [Israel's] efforts to prove to the world that Hamas is terror group," Shalom declared.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz cancelled a speech he was expected to deliver Thursday to meet with other top security officials on the implications of the apparent Hamas victory.
Olmert was expected to discuss the PA election results with cabinet ministers later Thursday.
Shimon Peres of Kadima told Israel Radio that if Hamas indeed won the elections, it would have to face and cope with a cessation of international aid to the PA.