Israel will not deal with a Palestinian cabinet including Hamas
Israel will not deal with a Palestinian government which includes Hamas, unless the group renounces violence and recognizes the Jewish state, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Lieberman's conditions were largely the same as those set by the international Quartet, which seeks to bring the two sides to the negotiating table. It also calls upon Hamas to honour past agreements signed between Israel and other Palestinian groups.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could not be a partner to Hamas while trying to be a partner in peace with Israel, Lieberman added.
Lieberman made the remarks, at a meeting with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen, a day before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo, in a bid to cement a reconciliation deal between the sides.
The deal, announced in May, is meant to end a four-and-a-half-year-long bitter, and at times violent, feud between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah party. It also calls on them to form a unity government, to rule until long-overdue new elections are held.
Hamas is currently the subject of a Western diplomatic boycott over its refusal to abide by the demands of the Quartet - the US, Russia, the UN and the EU.
Until the Quartet's conditions are met, Lieberman said Israel would also not transfer to the Palestinians even "one shekel" of tax revenues it collects on its behalf. It is currently withholding those funds in retaliation for the successful Palestinian bid to be accepted as a member state of UNESCO.
"Mahmoud Abbas is applying tremendous pressure on the international community to get Israel to hand the money over to the Palestinian Authority, and at the same time he's industriously working to set up a government with Hamas, which does not recognize the demands of the international community ... and continues calling for Israel's destruction," Lieberman said.
"Israel will not transfer funds to those interested in its destruction, and if Abu Mazen (Abbas' nom de guerre) will be Hamas' partner, then it's clear he's not a partner for peace," Lieberman said, according to a statement issued by his office.