Bibi: Concessions will strengthen Hamas

Netanyahu criticizes gestures planned by Barak, says Hamas and Iran will enter where IDF leaves.

netanyahu 224.88 (photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)
netanyahu 224.88
(photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)
There are no appropriate substitutes for Israeli control in the West Bank that do not put Israel in danger, Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday. After meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Netanyahu said, "No one, not even Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] can do our work in the West Bank. If the IDF leaves, Hamas and Iran will go in." Netanyahu added that the Likud party will not agree to any agreement with the Palestinians which will include the division of Jerusalem. MK Limor Livnat (Likud) seconded Netanyahu's stance during an interview with Army Radio, stating that "we should not remove any restrictions from the Palestinians - it will only strengthen Hamas. Any concession is seen by them as our defeat and a victory for them." In opposition to Netanyahu and Livnat's position on the matter, Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog expressed his support of the planned gestures. "These are reasonable decisions which do not put Israel in danger, but increase the Palestinian population's quality of life. Livnat and Netanyahu do not make any distinction between the extremists and the moderates. These concessions strengthen the moderates with whom we want to progress towards an agreement," Herzog said in an interview with Army Radio.