Israel needs the help of Jordan and Egypt to bolster moderate forces in the Palestinian Authority against the emboldened Hamas group, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
Speaking to CNN, Netanyahu said that strengthening President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction with the help of moderate Arab countries could be the key to solving the Middle East conflict.
"I think ultimately, to resolve the Palestinian problem we'll have to have a regional component. We'll have to have Egypt help in Gaza once the Hamas rule is terminated and we'll have to have Jordan help with the West Bank," Netanyahu told CNN.
The radical Hamas group seized control of the Gaza Strip last week, prompting Abbas to dismiss the unity government between Hamas and his Fatah faction.
An emergency government of technocrats was sworn-in in Ramallah after Hamas gunmen stormed government buildings in Gaza, emerging as the victor in a prolonged and bloody power struggle with rivals Fatah.
Netanyahu lauded Abbas for calling Hamas "murderous terrorists" in a televised address to the Palestinian people on Wednesday night, but lamented that he should have done so in the past when the group waged terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
He added that while Abbas might have genuine intentions to fight terror and resume peace talks with Israel, he lacked the means to provide security in the Palestinian territories where Iran and Syria were trying to sow strife.
"The third thing is to try to bolster the moderates, the Palestinian moderates primarily by providing security and I would like to see Jordan nearby come in and provide help with security because evidently the Palestinian leadership of Abbas may mean well but it doesn't have the power to handle that type of security," Netanyahu said.
The former prime minister warned Israel against unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank, saying that similar withdrawals from south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip emboldened radical groups like Hizbullah and Hamas.
"Well, I think it’s actually a sneak preview of what happens when Israel unilaterally walks out of a territory. That's how Hamas politically won," he said. "So we’ve just created an Iranian base at our doorsteps and the same happened before that in Lebanon where we unilaterally walked out there without peace or security arrangements."