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Netanyahu: Israel will not talk to Hamas

Dec. 26, 2011 at 7:23 AM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Israel will not negotiate with the Palestinian Authority if it establishes a unity government with Hamas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

Commenting on recent reports that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have agreed to join forces with the Palestinian Authority and establish a transitional unity government, Netanyahu said: "If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority," Haaretz reported.

Netanyahu said he is willing to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas any time and anywhere to renew peace negotiations.

"The peace process can only advance while maintaining security arrangements, which is becoming more difficult in light of the current situation in the region," Netanyahu said in a speech before Israeli ambassadors

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said Sunday the Palestinians may cancel agreements signed between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel, The Jerusalem Post said. His comments were published by the London based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

"The recognition of Israel was not a balanced recognition," Shtayyeh said referring to the PLO's decision to recognize Israel in 1993. "The PLO recognized Israel in the geographic sense, but Israel did not recognize Palestine geographically, but as an institution. Israel only recognized the PLO. Now we are demanding a mutual recognition. We want Israel to recognize the Palestinian territories of 1967."

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