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Netanyahu calls on Abbas to cancel reconciliation deal with Hamas

Israel Materials 3 May 2011 20:34 (UTC +04:00)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Tuesday on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel a proposed reconciliation deal with the Islamist Hamas movement, which he said was a blow to efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Netanyahu calls on Abbas to cancel reconciliation deal with Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Tuesday on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel a proposed reconciliation deal with the Islamist Hamas movement, which he said was a blow to efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"How can you reach peace with a government, half of which calls for the destruction of Israel," Netanyahu said in a statement issued after meeting Middle East envoy Tony Blair in Jerusalem, DPA reports.

His comments come a day before the two Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, are to sign a reconciliation agreement in Cairo. The deal ends a bitter, and at times violent, feud between the two largest Palestinian parties.

It is intended to bring about the formation of an interim unity government, which will do away with the current situation where Hamas administers the Gaza Strip and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority the West Bank.

Israel rejected the deal when it was announced last week.

Netanyahu and other officials said there can be no talks with a government that includes Hamas, unless the Islamist group accepts Israel's right to exist, something Hamas leaders have repeatedly said they will not do.

"I call on Abu Mazen (Abbas' nom de guerre) to cancel the agreement immediately and chose the path of peace with Israel," Netanyahu's statement said.

"The agreement between Abu Mazen and Hamas deals a serious blow to the peace process," he said.

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