Thursday, May 5, 2011

Netanyahu urges clarity from Hamas before peace talks can resume

(Reuters) -Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday in Paris called on Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to clarify its position toward Israel before peace talks with Palestinians can resume.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Netanyahu accused Hamas of wanting a Palestinian state to pursue its aim of destroying Israel rather than living side-by-side in peace.
"The idea is not to establish a Palestinian state to continue the conflict as Hamas wants. The idea is to establish a Palestinian state to end the conflict".

"I think clarity is necessary, because in fact, what is being discussed today is to create a Palestinian state in order to improve the positions from which Hamas wants to drive Israel to the sea."

"Peace can only happen through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and not through a UN diktat."
According to the prime minister, the French president agreed to his demand that Israel must be recognized by the Palestinians as the Jewish homeland, Sarkozy essentially echoed the sentiment expressed by Cameron, stating that the Palestinians would be made to recognize Israel as a condition for peace.
"Both Paris and London understand that those who want peace, must be committed to peace".
The prime minister stressed that the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state is one of the crucial points in the stalled peace process: 
"The heart of the conflict has always been the persistent refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize the Jewish state within any borders. We are prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, so why can't they return the favor if they want peace?".
Sarkozy told Netanyahu that the pro-democracy movements sweeping the Arab world presented an opportunity for reviving peace talks, according to a source close to the French presidency.

The source said it remained to be seen how peace talks could be resumed depending on what form the Palestinian government takes and Hamas' role in it. "It's important that all of that is clarified," the source said.