JERUSALEM (AFP) – The Hamas-led Palestinian government will “not be a partner” for negotiations with Israel, incoming prime minister Ehud Olmert said in a keynote address to parliament.
“Negotiations with the PA (Palestinian Authority) is the desired basis to lead us to a peace agreement but the PA must first carry out thorough changes in its behaviour and reactions,” he said Thursday.
“A Palestinian government led by a terror organisation will not be partner for negotiations,” Olmert added in the speech outlining the main policy of his new government, stressing “Israel will not wait forever for these changes”.
Olmert has pledged to use his mandate to fix Israel’s borders with the West Bank in plans that could effectively uproot 70,000 Jews from the occupied territory with or without agreement from the Palestinians.
“If the PA will not cooperate, we will act on our own to fix defensible borders,” Olmert told parliament.
Israel has severed all ties with the Palestinian Authority since the rise to power of Hamas, which took office in March and has refused to recognise Israel’s right to exist or renounce the use of violence.
Abbas publicly urged Olmert on Thursday to reopen peace talks, insisting the Hamas-led Palestinian cabinet should not be an obstacle to peace talks, which are in any case the remit of the president rather than the government.