Israel came out strongly against European calls for preliminary engagement with Hamas.
A British parliamentary panel and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi called this week for Western “dialogue” with the radical Islamist group, arguing that its continued isolation in Gaza would perpetuate political entropy in the Palestinian Authority.
The proposals drew an angry response Tuesday from Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who has been at the forefront of efforts to keep Hamas shunned until it abandons its hard-line hostility toward the Jewish state.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization. The requirements of the international community are and were clear,” Livni told reporters in Jerusalem.
“I believe that any compromise with terror, any compromise with these extremists, can lead to undermining the new government in the Palestinian Authority,” she added, referring to a Western-backed administration formed by Mahmoud Abbas after his Fatah faction broke with Hamas in June.
“I know that it looks tempting, and I know that the international community is eager to see a kind of an
understanding between Hamas and Fatah,” she said. “This is wrong. This is a mistake – big mistake, huge.”