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Mofaz: Hamas won't moderate
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Mofaz: Don't believe Hamas
Defense minister tells U.S. envoy Hamas won't moderate despite 'sweet talk'

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Sunday called on the American administration not to be deceived by Hamas' "sweet talk" and warned the terror group has no intention to moderate.

 

"The recent talks between Hamas and Iran as well as Khaled Mashaal's visit to Tehran were aimed at securing the support of the Iranians and at forming an alliance with Iran, a thing that would help bring the axis of evil of Iran-Syria-Hizbullah-Hamas here," Mofaz told American Assistant Secretary of State David Welch in a meeting Sunday.

 

The American envoy is set to hold a series of talks with government officials Sunday, just one day after his meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in which Welch pledged to continue U.S. financial aid to the Palestinians.

 

"We know of plans to tighten relations between Hamas and Hizbullah, which may institutionalize Iranian control over the Palestinian Authority. This we cannot accept," Mofaz said.

 

"In any case, we are now focusing our efforts on isolating Hamas, as long as it doesn't accept the terms laid out by Israel and the international community – renouncing terror, recognizing Israel, abiding by all past agreements and abolishing the group's charter."

 

'Israel won't hurt civilians'

 

According to the defense minister, Hamas has been trying to convey a false impression of responsibility recently, in a bid to deceive the international community.

 

"We have seen this in interviews Hamas officials gave American papers this weekend. However, the simple fact Hamas has yet to accept any of the preconditions goes to show its true intentions," Mofaz stated.

 

"Hamas' plan is to take over the Palestinian Authority step by step – first to form a government, then gain control over security apparatuses and later gain control over the entire authority, thus making it a Hamas-led authority," he added.

 

In a bid to calm American and international concerns, Mofaz stressed Israel will not take any actions against civilians.

 

"The correct process would be to look into every project and transfer funds only after each project has been thoroughly examined," he said.

 

The defense minister further stated that border crossings between Israel and the PA are a target for terror, adding this "directly affects the Palestinian population."

 

The main question, Mofaz told Welch, was what would happen once a Hamas-led government is formed and terror continues.

 

"In such a case, Israel will hold the Palestinian government accountable," he concluded.

 

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