Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel has the backing of the international community in its refusal to negotiate with Hamas, but he pledged Israel would not close the door on all peace talks.
Addressing a rally for his Kadima Party on Sunday evening, Olmert said the leaders of the United States, Britain, France and Italy back Israel's policy toward Hamas, the violent Islamic terror group that won last month's Palestinian parliamentary election. He did not mention Russia, which has invited Hamas leaders for talks in Washington, causing anger in Israel.
"We will not conduct any negotiations with Hamas or with anyone who is part of it or dependent on it," Olmert said. International backing for this policy gives Israel the ability to protect its security "without closing off diplomatic avenues, if those exist, to continue progressing forward."
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