Israel should not interfere in the inter-Palestinian clashes that have followed president Mahmud Abbas' call for early elections, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said on Monday.
"Israel doesn't have anything to do with what is going on among them, and any intervention on our part would have negative repercussions," Peres said on Israeli Army radio.
"We would like that the Palestinian people to live in peace with us. But we have to wait and see what their armed groups decide," he added.
Armed clashes broke out between forces loyal to Abbas and militant supporters of the ruling Hamas movement after Abbas's call on Saturday for early presidential and parliamentary elections, with Hamas calling the move a coup d'etat.
An Israeli government spokeswoman initially voiced support for Abbas as he supports negotiations with the Jewish state and opposes violence, but officials said on Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted to avoid getting involved in dispute whether the Palestinians should hold early elections.
Abbas called for the early vote as a way to resolve months of political standoff with Hamas, which has been in power only since March.