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Israel threatens to cut ties with Palestinians

Israel has said it will immediately cut all contact with the Palestinian Authority if the next PM is affiliated to Hamas.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 15:25 IST

Israel will immediately cut all contact with the Palestinian Authority if the next prime minister is affiliated to Hamas, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said in an interview published on Wednesday.

"If the Palestinians choose a parliament speaker and prime minister who are affiliated with Hamas, Israel will immediately sever all contact with the Palestinian Authority," Mofaz told the Yediot Aharonot ahead of Saturday's inauguration of the new Palestinian parliament.

Hamas is widely expected to choose two of its own senior members as both prime minister and speaker after its landslide victory in last month's Palestinian general election.

The militant Islamist group, which has carried out dozens of suicide attacks, has been under massive international pressure to commit itself to non-violence and respect the Jewish state's right to exist if it forms a new government.

The major players in the peace process, including the United States and European Union, have threatened to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority in the absence of any such commitment from Hamas.

Mofaz told Yediot that he did not expect any such change of heart and Israel had to therefore show no compromise.

"From my standpoint, it does not look like Hamas intends to give up its ideology regarding Israel's destruction, and it does not intend to recognize" Israel, added Mofaz.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 14:37 IST