Barak to Ban Ki-moon: Hamas must recognize Israel

Defense minister tells UN sec.-gen. that world leaders should make recognition of Israel condition for cooperation with Palestinian unity gov't.

ehud barak 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ehud barak 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel is worried by the reconciliation agreement reached between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah and demanded that world leaders ensure that Hamas recognizes Israel, in a conversation on Saturday.
Barak told Ban that "Hamas is a terrorist organization that fires rockets and missiles at Israeli communities and only recently used an anti-tank missile against a school bus."
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Thus, he said, Israel expects world leaders, including top officials at the UN, must demand that any Hamas-Fatah government recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and agree to honor previous agreements with Jerusalem. World governments should make those demands a stipulation to any cooperation with a new Palestinian government, he added.
In their conversation, the defense minister explained to Ban, "it is our conviction that the PA and Hamas need to explicitly accept these demands before establishing a joint government." That, he added, must be heard [before a government is formed] in order to influence the Palestinians' behavior."
On Friday, the UN secretary-general said that he cautiously welcomed a unity agreement aimed at ending the rivalry among ruling Palestinian factions, but stressed that it should not undermine peace with Israel.
"The Secretary-General welcomes efforts being made to promote Palestinian reconciliation and the important contribution of Egypt in this regard," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
"He hopes that reconciliation will now take place in a manner that promotes the cause of peace, security and non-violence," he said.