Sinn Fein's president due in Israel next week; FM spokesman: We expect dignitaries not to dignify Hamas with meeting.
By HERB KEINON
Israeli officials will not hold talks with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who is expected here next week, if he insists - as he did during his last visit in 2006 - in meeting Hamas officials, The Jerusalem Post learned Tuesday.
"Adams intends to come here next week," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, adding that "we expect all dignitaries who come here to make it clear that they will not dignify Hamas with a meeting."
Palmor said the details of Adam's trip had not yet been finalized.
Israeli sources said that Adams had asked to meet Israeli officials, and was told that they would agree to his request on condition that he not meet Hamas leaders.
"He would not make any commitment," the sources said. "Adams did not meet any Israeli officials last time, and it is likely the same will be the case now."
Adams was last in the region in September 2006, immediately after the Second Lebanon War, at the invitation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Northern Irish republican leader, who has denied allegations of former membership in the Irish Republican Army, is coming at a time when the shootings of two British soldiers and a policeman earlier in the month in Ulster brought the threat of sectarian violence back to Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein was the political wing of the IRA.
"It's important that we don't minimize what occurred, but we don't exaggerate what occurred," Adams said of the incident during a recent meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which he roundly condemned the killings.
During his last visit to the region, Adams told the Post that he saw "no point" in excluding Hamas from a dialogue.
"You have to build an alternative that takes people away from armed action - whether it is suicide bombings or dropping thousands of tons of explosives," he said at the time.
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