Barak with Ban (Archives)
Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry
Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Saturday and expressed concern over the truce agreement materializing between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.
"Hamas is a terror organization that fires rockets and missiles at Israeli communities and has just recently used an anti-tank missile against a school bus," Barak told the UN chief.
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Barak added that Israel expects world leaders, including those of the United Nations, to stipulate that a joint Hamas-Fatah government will only be recognized if it accepts conditions stated by the Mideast Quartet – including recognizing Israel, relinquishing terrorism, and honoring previous agreements with the state.
"Our intent is that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas must officially accept these demands before establishing a joint government. This demand must be stated ahead of time in order to affect the Palestinians' behavior," the defense minister said.
The conversation was part of Israel's diplomatic efforts to prevent the West from viewing Hamas as a partner in negotiations between the state and the Palestinians.
Israel fears that once a truce is established between Fatah and Hamas, the latter will no longer be seen as a terror organization but rather as a legitimate partner for peace talks.
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