Beilin: Sharon contributed to Hamas win

Friday poll shows Israeli public deadlocked on dividing Jerusalem.

yossi beilin 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yossi beilin 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon directly contributed to the Hamas victory, said Meretz-Yahad Chairman Yossi Beilin Saturday, by crippling the Palestinian Authority's ability to effectually govern. "The weakening of the Palestinian Authority, of Fatah, and the strengthening of Hamas is the result of Israeli policy over the past five years," said Beilin. One of Sharon's first decisions as prime minister was to severe ties with the PA. "He created conditions that were never met and he knew they could never be met. As a result we have no dialogue with the other side. There is no political horizon." The way in which Israel withdrew from Gaza only strengthened Hamas' standing with the Palestinians, said Beilin. "The insistence of Sharon to do it himself and to do it unilaterally sent a clear message: We don't take you seriously," said Beilin. During the disengagement, Beilin argued for coordination between the PA and Israel. Earlier Saturday, former Shin Bet chief and Labor candidate Ami Ayalon also blamed Sharon for strengthening Hamas. In an interview with Le Figaro, Ayalon said that Sharon's refusal to negotiate with the PA has convinced Palestinians that Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was a victory for terrorism. Meanwhile, a poll conducted by Yediot Ahronot showed that Israelis are deadlocked over withdrawing from parts of Jerusalem in the future. Forty-nine percent of Israelis are willing to cede parts of Jerusalem in the framework of a peace treaty with the Palestinians while 49 are against it.