Netanyahu Slams Palestinian Unity: We Won't Accept Reconciliation at the Expense of Israel's Existence

Reconciliation efforts must account for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, dismantling Hamas' military wing and cutting ties with Iran, PM says

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim, October 2, 2017.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim, October 2, 2017.Credit: Emil Salman
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out against Hamas and the Palestinian Authority's continued reconciliation efforts on Tuesday.

Netanyahu told a Likud meeting in the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim that Israel would not accept "imaginary appeasement where the Palestinian side is reconciling at the expense of our existence," adding that anyone who discusses a peace process must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

>> Palestinian reconciliation talks a sign of Hamas' distress | Analysis

"Whoever wants to reconcile, our position is very simple," Netanyahu said. "Recognize the State of Israel, dismantle Hamas' military wing, cut ties with Iran that calls for our destruction, etc. Therse are very clear things - and things that we have previously and clearly stated."

The Palestinian cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, on Tuesday held a meeting in the Gaza Strip for the first time in three years. The meeting was part of an effort to implement a reconciliation agreement between the PA and Hamas.

Earlier Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that at the end of the reconciliation between the Fatah party and Hamas, all weapons – including those in Hamas’ hands – must be under the control of the rule of law of the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu's remarks come hours after Education Minister Naftali Bennet called for Israel to halt the transfer of tax revenue to Palestinians on Tuesday, in response to both Interpol's unilateral induction of the Palestinian Authority, and the current reconciliation process between Hamas and the PA.

"Israel must stop acting as ATM for terrorism," said Bennet, a member of the security cabinet.

"This isn't Palestinian reconciliation, but rather Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] cozying up to a murderous terror organization. Transferring funds to a Hamas government is like Israel transferring money to the Islamic State—in return for the cash, we'll get missiles fired at us," he added.

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