JERUSALEM, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli government announced Thursday that it had decided it would not conduct negotiations with a Palestinian government that would include the Hamas.
"The security cabinet agreed unanimously that Israel will not conduct negotiations with a Palestinian government leaning on Hamas, a terror organization calling for Israel's destruction," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
The statement also said Israel would respond to the Palestinian Authority's unilateral moves "with a series of actions," but did not specify what these actions would entail.
Earlier on Thursday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a forum of ministers known as the security cabinet to decide Israel's moves following the unity deal signed by Fatah and Hamas on Wednesday.
Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of making an alliance "with a murderous terror organization which calls for the destruction of Israel, instead of choosing peace."
"Hamas fired more than 10,000 missiles and rockets into Israel' s territory and did not stop for a minute from its terror activity against Israel. The alliance was signed... as Israel is making efforts to promote the negotiations with the Palestinians," Netanyahu added, accusing Abbas of foiling attempts to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio earlier on Thursday that a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is impossible due to the reconciliation agreement.
"It is clear that as soon as Abbas chose to unite with Hamas, it is impossible to make peace with Israel," Lieberman said, adding the deal means there is "no partner" for Israel to negotiate with.
"As long as there is a deal with Hamas, and Abbas goes in the direction of an agreement with Hamas, the agreement with Israel is impossible," Lieberman said. "We will not accept a government that openly receives its authority from Hamas, an organization that clearly speaks about violence, terror and doesn't recognize our right to exist and previous agreements."
Israel cancelled a scheduled negotiations meeting on Wednesday evening following the announcement of the unity deal.
On the other hand, the Palestinians, as well as some left-wing Israeli politicians, slammed Israel's stance on the unity deal, with Abbas stating that the internal issue should not have any effect on the peace deal based on the two-state solution.
"There is no incompatibility between reconciliation and negotiations, especially as we are committed to a just peace based on a two-state solution in accordance with resolutions of international law," Abbas said.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority had been negotiating since late July and the deadline for the talks to materialize is April 29.
Negotiators from the two sides have met several times in the past two weeks to try to extend the talks beyond that deadline and get them back on track after a crisis emerged, following Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners as promised, its resolution to build hundreds of more housing units in east Jerusalem and the Palestinians' request to join 15 international treaties.
GAZA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Hamas movement on Wednesday announced a reconciliation agreement, declaring an end to their internal split.
"The Palestinian internal division has gone once and forever," Prime Minister of Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, told reporters in a joint press conference with Abbas' representatives in Gaza City. Full story
RAMALLAH, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that the reconciliation deal reached with his rival Hamas movement will empower the principle of the two- state solution.
Abbas said in an emailed statement that the reconciliation agreement reached with Hamas, which controlled the Gaza Strip by force in 2007, doesn't at all contradict with the peace negotiations with Israel. Full story
WASHINGTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Wednesday that it is "disappointed" by the reconciliation agreement between two main Palestinian factions, which could " seriously" complicate peace efforts.
Under the Palestinian agreement that would end a seven-year internal rift, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Hamas movement would start discussions to form a unity government within five weeks. Full story