Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians should such a planned unity government include Hamas.
“If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a conference for Israeli ambassadors. The remarks came following ongoign moves involving Fatah and Hamas to create a Palestinian unity government.
However, he added that he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas anytime, anywhere, in order to renew 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 added.
Last week, Abbas met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Cairo and set the ground for Hamas to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
During the discussions, Hamas and Fatah decided to form a unity government by the end of January 2012, and that the Palestinian parliament, including both Fatah and Hamas legislators, will begin operating in February.