Netanyahu’s largest coalition partner, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), party announced it would demand Israel’s government cease all contact between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s Hebrew-language Maariv reported Wednesday.
“It is impossible to expect the State of Israel to transfer money to Hamas and thereby fund terror activities against Israel’s citizens,” a party spokesman said. “Those who declared Bin Laden a Muslim freedom fighter, as Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh did, and those who refuse to allow the Red Cross to visit Gilad Schalit, cannot be partners in negotiations, either directly or indirectly.”
The cessation of contact would include all inter-ministerial initiatives and security cooperation in addition to the transfer of tax revenues, according to the report.
In a separate statement, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon who is in Eastern Europe, called on the European Union to threaten the PA with financial consequences, should they fail to comply with the Quartet’s principles.
“As the largest funders of the Palestinian Authority, you have a heavy responsibility to make it clear to the Palestinians that failure to comply with the Quartet’s conditions will be met with sanctions,” he said. He spoke after meeting with Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner repeated long-standing U.S. policy that if Hamas wants a political role it must meet criteria established by the Mideast “Quartet.”
The Quartet – the U.S., Russia, European Union and U.N. – say Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and adhere to previous signed agreements.
Hamas refuses to do so and has indicated it will continue to refuse even after being re-admitted to the PA.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, who on Wednesday condenmed the signing of the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement, is expected to meet with his cabinet to discuss cutting ties when he returns to Israel.
Senior PA leaders have defended the unity agreement on the grounds that reconciliation with Hamas reflects a “deep-seated public desire to end internal division.”