As Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to the PA parliament that the Palestinians' hand was "extended" towards Israel and that his people sought a "comprehensive peace," government spokeswoman Miri Eisen repeated on Saturday Israel's refusal to deal with the PA. Eisen said that Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, who presented the coalition platform to the parliament for ratification, spoke in two different voices. "I would like to see the Palestinian people better their situation, and we are looking to do so with the [PA] president," she said, "but we will not deal with this new government."
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MK Effi Eitam (NU-NRP) responded to the approval of the coalition on Saturday saying that Israel must break all ties with Abbas.
"The government is responsible for the end of the international Hamas boycott in that they are delivering mixed messages regarding the PA," said Eitam, echoing words earlier spoken by Zalman Shuval (Likud), who shared a similar opinion before the parliament vote on Saturday afteroon.
"Israel's insists it will continue talking to Abu Mazzen, and on the other hand will boycott the government [itself]... this delivers a weak message to the worldâ€¦ Israel is closing her eyes to the Hamas government which has disguised itself as a unity government in hope of winning international support.
"Israel must cut ties with Abu Mazzen until all Hamas ministers resign," insisted Eitam.
Shuval also blamed the government for helping the international community to end the boycott on Hamas.
"The government is holding negotiations with Abu Mazzen, while he effectively accepts Hamas's view of not recognizing Israel and the right of return," said Shuval.
Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin, on the other hand, said Saturday that Israel should listen to Abbas's words and take advantage of the opportunity open to both peoples.
According to Beilin, the new PA unity government, comprised of representatives from nearly all sectors of the Palestinian Authority, could be turning point for relations between Israel and the PA.
Beilin told Army Radio on Saturday that rather than fighting to boycott the PA, a move that would back Israel into a corner as the only nation doing so, Israel should make an immediate move to reach an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Abbas's leadership.
In addition, Beilin proposed, Israel should hold talks with the new ministers who are not affiliated with Hamas and present them with practical goals. If the PA meets those goal, Beilin said, Israel would recognize its new government.
Earlier Saturday, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, said that the international community should stand firm in isolating the Palestinian government. "If this is a government that does not renounce terror, if this is a government that does not want to conduct peace talks, why should it be helped?" Peres told Israel Radio.
Science, Culture, and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadle (Labor) said Saturday that Israel should not boycott the Fatah "pragmatists" just because they were sitting in a government with Hamas.
Majadle said that many of the Fatah base were supporters of the Oslo Accords who had already signed agreements with Israel.
Boycotting [the Fatah representatives] won't do a thing for Israel, or strengthen the government, Majadle - who spoke at a conference in Beersheba - said.