by Gil Ronen
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday that he believes Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria in the Palestinian Authority elections planned for next year as part of the Fatah-Hamas rapprochement. Speaking on state-run Voice of Israel radio, Lieberman called the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas "the crossing of a red line" and added that Israel "must decide upon its steps" following the development.
One of the results of Hamas-Fatah unity will be that hundreds of Hamas terrorists will go free from Fatah-PA jails, and roam in Judea and Samaria, Lieberman said. He called upon the international community to hold on steadfastly to the conditions it has set for recognition of "Palestinian" governments: the abandoning of terror, the recognition of Israel and the honoring of previous agreements.
Lieberman pointed to two possible reasons for the rapprochement. Hamas is "in a panic," he said, because its patron Bashar Assad is in trouble, while Fatah is shaken up after losing its patron, Hosni Mubarak.
MK Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) called upon the government to declare that Israel would support a UN vote establishing a PA state on the condition that negotiations for permanent borders begin forthwith and that the PA recognize former US President Bill Clinton's parameters for a diplomatic deal and carry out "confidence building measures."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is of a different opinion. In a Wednesday evening statement he referred to the anticipated agreement between the Fatah-PA and Hamas, saying:
"I think that the very idea of this reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and causes one to wonder if Hamas will seize control of Judea and Samaria like it seized control of the Gaza Strip.
"I hope that the Palestinian Authority chooses correctly, i.e. that it chooses peace with Israel. The choice is in its hands."
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