Barak to UN Chief: Hamas Must Recognize Israel

Defense Minister Ehud Barak tells UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the world should only support a joint Palestinian government if it accepts the Quartet's conditions.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday and expressed concerns about the unity agreement that was recently reached between Fatah and Hamas.

"Hamas is a terrorist organization that fires rockets at Israeli towns and recently used an anti-tank missile against a school bus," Barak said.

AP

"Therefore, we expect that world leaders, including, of course, the head of the UN, to make cooperation with such a joint government, if it is established, conditional on the government accepting the Quartet's conditions, which are the recognition of Israel, the abandonment of the path of terror and the acceptance of all previous agreements with Israel," Barak continued.

Barak also told the UN chief that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas must accept those demands explicitly before the establishment of a joint government.

"This demand needs to be heard beforehand in order to influence the behavior of the Palestinians," he said.

On Friday, the UN leader cautiously welcomed the unity agreement aimed at ending the rivalry among the ruling Palestinian factions. He stressed, however, that it should not undermine peace with Israel.

"The Secretary-General welcomes efforts being made to promote Palestinian reconciliation and the important contribution of Egypt in this regard," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement. "He hopes that reconciliation will now take place in a manner that promotes the cause of peace, security and non-violence."

Nesirky indicated that the UN leader wanted Abbas' more moderate Fatah movement to lead any unity government.

"The United Nations has long underscored the need for progress towards Palestinian unity within the framework of the Palestinian Authority led by President Abbas and the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization," he said.

"The United Nations will study carefully the agreement as soon as the details are available," Nesirky added.