Hamas makes its position clear: Group leader Haniyeh says Israeli presence 'on our land illegal, cannot be recognized.' Foreign Minister Lieberman urges Europe to adopt cautious approach to Palestinian unity deal
"Their presence on our land is illegal and cannot be recognized," the Hamas leader said.
Earlier, Haniyeh stressed that the temporary Palestinian government to be established following the unity deal will not embark on negotiations with Israel. He also made it clear that his group had no intention of recognizing the Jewish state.
Speaking on Friday, Haniyeh downplayed Israeli threats to thwart Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
"We move forward on what serves the interest of the Palestinian people, and the Israeli positions are of no interest to us," he said.
Lieberman goes on attack
Meanwhile, Israel is attempting to score diplomatic points in the wake of the Palestinian unity deal. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke with Europe's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and told her Israel expects the EU to adopt a cautious approach in respect to the Fatah-Hamas agreement.
Lieberman told Ashton that Europe must demand that Hamas comply with International Quartet terms, which Europe itself helped formulate: Reorganization of Israel, annulment of the clause calling for Israel's destruction in Hamas' charter, an end to terror against Israel and the honoring of past agreements with the Jewish state.
Lieberman added that Hamas must be urged to allow the Red Cross to visit abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Endorsing the Palestinian unity deal without insisting that Hamas adhere to the terms will convey the message that terrorism pays off, thereby minimizing the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, the foreign minister said. He added that the Gaza scenario may be repeated in the West Bank, with Hamas taking over the region and proceeding to directing missile and suicide terror at Israeli civilians.