Livni: Netanyahu to blame for Hamas-Fatah unity deal

In Army Radio interview, opposition leader says diplomatic stagnation brought about by government's policies led PA to reconcile with Hamas.

Livni 311 reuters (photo credit: Reuters)
Livni 311 reuters
(photo credit: Reuters)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Sunday blamed the policies of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the stagnation in the diplomatic process that it has created for leading to the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Livni's comments came in an interview with Army Radio.
"The Palestinians made their decision because they looked at Israel and saw the unwillingness to cooperate for the sake of peace," Livni stated.
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"When Hamas came to power after the elections in the Palestinian Authority, we were faced with a similar situation and we behaved completely differently, Livni said. "We contacted of all the countries and recruited them to our side. We said we were interested in peace but only with a party who actually wants peace - not Hamas. We left Israel in a state of active negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, international recognition of our readiness for peace and full cooperation with Egypt, she added."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz responded to Livni's comments, saying Livni herself created the current situation with regard to the Palestinians during her tenure as foreign minister.
"The Kadima government made two critical mistakes - letting Hamas take part in elections and giving them international legitimacy; and secondly, signing the agreement by which Israel withdrew from the Philadelphi Corridor, creating an obstacle to relations with Egypt, which is now hurting diplomacy between the countries," Steinitz said.
Steinitz refuted Livni's claims that Netanyahu's government had allowed the diplomatic process to stagnate, listing a number of gestures made toward the Palestinians including the building freeze, economic cooperation and the prime minister's Bar Ilan speech.
The finance minister added that there was a chance the government could engage in talks with Hamas.
"When the organization stops acting as it does, we will be prepared to speak with them," Steinitz said. "If [Hamas] recognizes Israel and agrees to lay down its weapons and becomes part of the Palestinian Authority, then the situation will be different," he added.