Barak: No talks while Hamas sticks with terror

IDF waiting to see if Palestinian ‘unity’ is more than talk; defense official says we'll have to wait and see if real unity takes place.

PA Police 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
PA Police 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday that Israeli officials would not speak to a Fatah-Hamas government as long as Hamas continues terrorist attacks against Israel.
“This is an organization [with which] there is nothing to talk to about,” Barak said. “There is no chance that we will talk to this type of government, if it is established.
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And we demand that our friends in the world refrain from speaking to it as well – unless Hamas undergoes a substantial and deep change by stopping terrorism, dismantling terrorist infrastructure and accepting the Quartet’s conditions, which are recognizing previous agreements with Israel and entering negotiations.”
The IDF is waiting to see whether Wednesday’s declaration of a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement will have any impact on the ground in the West Bank, a senior security source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The source added that there was no immediate concern of sudden changes that would disrupt the close security cooperation currently in place between the IDF and PA security forces.
The two sides have built up a good working relationship, and worked to combat Hamas activity in the West Bank.
“We have to wait to see if this [unity agreement] is a mere declaration, or if this will go beyond that. We’re at the opening shot stage,” the source said.
The 2007 coup led to the establishment of a separate Islamist Hamas regime in Gaza, which did not recognize the nationalist Fatah-led PA, and its seat of power in Ramallah.
Meir Elran, former deputy director of the IDF Intelligence Directorate, said the “unity“ development was a “big test” for the current arrangement in the West Bank.
But Elran, who directs the Homeland Security Program at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security, stressed that declarations aside, Fatah and Hamas still did not trust each other.
“It’s too soon to know if this will lead to a bigger change [in the West Bank],” Elran said.
Another security source, who requested anonymity, told the Post, “The intelligence assessment, as presented during the annual assessment given to decision-makers, and in internal IDF evaluations, spoke of a ‘shaky reconciliation’ that will have diplomatic implications.”