Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that if there were a unity agreement between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, Israel would hold Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Speaking ahead of meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo, as part of a state visit, Netanyahu described the unity pact as “a turn for the worst” because “Hamas is committed to our destruction.” But he said, “We remain committed to advancing the peace, preferably a negotiated peace.”
“We can only negotiate with a government whose constituent parts are committed to peace. If President Abbas goes ahead with this national unity with Hamas, a terrorist organization that regularly fires rockets into Israel, then we’ll have to hold him accountable for every rocket that is fired from Gaza, to Israel,” he said. “We hope that this pact is dissolved and we can find a way to return to genuine negotiations with a genuine peace partner.”
He told Kishida that Israel sympathizes with Japanese concerns over North Korea because of a similar threat in the Middle East from Iran.
“We are interested in peace and stability throughout the world,” Netanyahu said. “We see a danger and a challenge posed by a rogue state arming itself with nuclear weapons. In your case it’s North Korea and we obviously sympathize and understand the predicament facing you. We are faced with such a rogue state in the form of Iran and its quest to develop nuclear weapons.”
“I think yesterday’s UN report is another example of how Iran continues to deceive the world and advance its nuclear program. Clearly the Ayatollahs cannot be trusted and if the international community wants to avoid the specter of nuclear terrorism, they must assure that Iran, the foremost sponsor of terrorism on the planet, not have the capability to develop nuclear weapons,” he said. “This is our number one concern but I think it should be shared by everyone who is concerned by the proliferation of nuclear terrorism and nuclear weapons.”