Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, responded to reports Wednesday of a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation with an ultimatum for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
In a recorded video message Netanyahu said the "Palestinian Authority needs to choose between peace with the people of Israel and peace with Hamas. You cannot have peace with both, because Hamas aspires to destroy the State of Israel, and I'll say it openly."
"Hamas fires rockets at our cities and anti-tank missiles at our children," Netanyahu said. "I think the mere idea of reconciliation demonstrates the Palestinian Authority's weakness, and brings up the question of whether Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria as it did Gaza."Choose peace with Israel. The choice is hers."
Netanyahu has made similar statements in the past.
Netanyahu added: "I hope the PA makes the right choice."
Netanyahu's sentiment has been increasingly shared by officials in Jerusalem. “Abbas has to choose whether he wants peace with Israel, or peace with Hamas,” one official said several weeks ago. “He can’t have both. If he chooses peace with Hamas it will bury the peace process.”
Netanyahu's objection to the participation of Hamas in a PA government is based on the organization's refusal to abandon violence, recognize Israel, and accept standing PA-Israel agreements -- the same criteria set by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations for renewal of funding to any PA government that includes Hamas.