Israel says no to Hamas at peace talks

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would refuse to hold peace talks with the Palestinian Authority if it included Hamas representatives.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal met Palestinian president and Fatah chief Mahmud Abbas in Cairo last week to discuss the reorganisation of Palestinian decision-making bodies to include Hamas.

“Netanyahu said that if Hamas joins the Palestinian government, he would refuse to conduct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” Israeli radio said.

Israel condemns Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Mr Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev, asked to confirm the comments, said Mr Netanyahu had been speaking to Israeli ambassadors behind closed doors.

Hamas and Fatah, which respectively control Gaza and the West Bank, have long been political rivals.

Tensions spilled over into deadly violence in 2007 when Hamas forced Fatah out of Gaza and took control of the strip.

In April, Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement, but it has been largely unenforced.

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