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Israel warns Hamas must give up violence

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Israel warns Hamas must give up violence


News of Hamas’s victory has sent shockwaves through Israel. Interim prime minister Ehud Olmert has said Israel would not negotiate peace with a Palestinian government that does not fight terror. Veteran politician Shimon Peres said: “I think it’s first of all a problem for the Palestinian people, not for Israel, because Hamas is for unilateral war, not for unilateral peace or for withdrawal. We shall not change our position but if Hamas doesn’t want peace, doesn’t want negotiations and wants to continue with their terrorist activity, I don’t think they will have any support from outside or from Israel.”

On the streets of Jerusalem, opinion is mixed over the impact of the election result. “The Hamas will probably be more pragmatic and seek a political solution rather than a terrorist and violent solution,” said one man. “Hamas is dedicated to the overthrow of Israel. That’s their basic premise and how are we going to deal with somebody like this? They want to kill us, that’s pretty clear,” said another. Israel has repeatedly asked Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to force Hamas and other militant groups to disarm, but Abbas has refused, warning that could cause civil war.
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