Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas must abandon his pact with Hamas if he wants peace, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said in an interview with the BBC.
Israel suspended peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday in response to a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah.
The decision came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chaired a six-hour meeting of Israel’s security cabinet.
The Palestinian factions said they would attempt to form a unity government in the coming weeks.
Mr Netanyahu told the BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen that Mr Abbas could “have peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas – he can’t have both.”
He said Israel would only resume peace talks with Palestinians “when they decide to abandon the course of terror.”
“As long as I’m prime minister of Israel, I will never negotiate with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas terrorists that are calling for our liquidation,” he added.
Correspondents say the latest moves could be a fatal blow to the US-brokered peace negotiations.
Mr Abbas said there was “no incompatibility between reconciliation and the talks”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Thursday that the move made a peace agreement “impossible.”
The direct negotiations were already close to collapse after both sides took what the US called “unhelpful steps” earlier this month.
Since then, Washington has been trying to persuade the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to agree to extend the talks beyond Tuesday, the deadline for a final agreement set when they resumed last July. BBC