Israel’s interim prime minister has urged the international community to shun any Hamas-led Palestinian government until the militant group recognises his nation’s right to exist. Ehud Olmert, meeting his cabinet hours ahead of a visit by the German chancellor, said there would be no talks with Palestinian leaders until Hamas renounced violence.
He said he had delivered that message in phone calls to several world leaders. Germany’s Angela Merkel has she would not deal with Hamas but would meet the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas’s victory in the recent parliamentary elections has thrown the future of the peace process with Israel into serious doubt and turned Palestinian politics on its head. Abbas’s once-dominant Fatah party has been swept aside and its rank-and-file members have not tried to contain their anger with the leadership. The president met with senior leaders today to discuss the way forward. The party has said it will not enter government with Hamas. Members have already staged protests against any transfer of security powers to the militant group.