Monday, December 26, 2011

Netanyahu says no talks if Palestinians take on Hamas, radio

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would refuse to hold peace talks with the Palestinian Authority if it includes Hamas representatives, according to Israeli public radio.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal last week met in Cairo with Palestinian president and Fatah chief Mahmud Abbas to discuss the reorganisation of Palestinian decision-making bodies to include Hamas.

"Netanyahu said that if Hamas joins the Palestinian government, he would refuse to conduct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority," Israeli radio said.

Israel condemns Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, asked to confirm the comments, said Netanyahu had been speaking to Israeli ambassadors behind closed doors.

Hamas and Fatah, which respectively control Gaza and the West Bank, have long been political rivals.

Tensions spilled over into deadly violence in 2007 when Hamas forced Fatah out of Gaza and took control of the strip.

In April, Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement, though it has been largely unenforced.

Netanyahu says no talks if Palestinians take on Hamas, radio

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