Olmert: Hamas is enemy, but not all Palestinians

March 1, 2006 22:35


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Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday warned against considering all Palestinians as Israel's enemies after the violent Islamic Hamas won a parliamentary election in January. Campaigning before Israel's March 28 general election, Olmert urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to require the new Palestinian government, which Hamas is forming, to uphold agreements with Israel signed by previous regimes. Olmert differed with his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who called Abbas "not relevant" in the wake of the Hamas victory. "We hope that Abu Mazen (Abbas) will have the strength and courage and the decisiveness and will fulfill his obligations under the road map," Olmert said, referring to an internationally backed Mideast peace plan. Olmert said, "We shall not declare every Palestinian an enemy. Hamas is the enemy." He said Israel would pursue any opportunity for peace, but at the same time it would relentlessly fight Palestinian terrorism. He singled out Gaza militants who have been firing homemade Kassam rockets at Israel.

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