"Now is not the time to discuss a permanent agreement with the Palestinians," Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Saturday at the opening of an international terror conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
"After the (Hamas takeover) in Gaza, it's inappropriate to talk of a permanent agreement. The basic precondition for talks on a permanent agreement is a partner in these talks whom we know is solidly grounded," he explained to reporters at the conference.
"There isn't a chance to have a comprehensive permanent agreement under the existing conditions and anyone who thinks it's the way to go needs to open their eyes and stop dreaming," he said.
When asked about what steps he thinks should be taken to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the internal security minister stated that "we don't need to think about how to mold them. We need to think of how to mold ourselves."
Dichter was asked specifically about his thoughts on Vice Premier Haim Ramon's suggestion of a broad West Bank pullout, to which he responded, "If he had a real initiative we would talk about it in the government. For now, he has his opinion and I have mine."
The minister dismissed reports about an alleged advancement in secret talks with Palestinians and emphasized that he is unfamiliar with such a move. "I am familiar with rumors and personal opinions, but at the end of the day, if there was such a thing, there would be extensive meetings (in the government)."
Addressing Syria and Iran's support of terror organizations, Dichter said that "we cannot overlook their involvement and support of terror in Lebanon and Gaza. When terror organizations join terror states, we see a coup like the one that took place in Gaza.
"Israel must create deterrence in Gaza. There's no other choice. Stopping the supply of water and electricity may be effective, but as an added solution, only," he added, implying that such a response was an attempt at a quick-fix solution.