Ben-Eliezer warns: Islamic Movement may join up with Hamas

Ben-Eliezer warns Islam

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed on Monday concern over burgeoning ties between the Islamic Movement's northern branch and Hamas. Speaking to Israel Radio, Ben-Eliezer stated that Israel could pay a hefty price for allowing the two to cooperate. Although both entities are known to advocate Palestinian nationalism, the Islamic Movement was historically an Israeli Arab organization which focused on promoting Islamic law and education in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Officials from its more moderate southern branch are involved in Israeli politics and decision-making processes. Hamas, however, was recognized by the US and the European Union as a jihad-oriented terrorist organization whose charter opposes permanent peace with Israel. During the Arab riots on the Temple Mount and in east Jerusalem, organized in part by the Islamic Movement's Raed Salah, spokesmen from both movements fanned the fire by releasing inciteful statements against Israel. Ben-Eliezer added that Israel must move forward in its negotiations with the Palestinians, especially by aiding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and making gestures to strengthen his position. "It is not chiefly a Palestinian concern, but rather a question of Israel's security and very existence," concluded the minister.
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