You cannot promote peace and support terrorism – that is the message from George W Bush after Hamas won the Palestinian election.
The US president said he respected the democratic choice of the Palestinian people, but added that the militant group would have to renounce violence to become a negotiating partner.
“I know you can’t be a partner in peace if your party has an armed wing. We will watch very carefully the formation of the new government. But I will continue to remind people of what I just said: if your platform is the destruction of Israel, it means you are not a partner in peace.”
European countries have reacted with consternation as well. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin had this to say:
“I’m very concerned by the result. There are conditions which must be met in order for the international community to be able to work with a future Palestinian government. France believes that, first of all, there must be an end to the use of violence as a means to achieve political goals. Secondly there must be recognition of Israel.
I think the work of the Middle East diplomatic quartet, which meets on Monday, will be useful.”
The European Union has hinted it might review aid to the Palestinians. Last year it earmarked about 250 million euros to support steps towards the creation of an independent Palestinian state.