Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quoted this week’s Torah reading, which states, "Now There Arose a New King Over Egypt” and warned of a Hamas takeover of Ramallah.
At a meeting of the Bible Circle held by the Prime Minister in memory of his late father-in-law, he said, "Like then, like today. In Egypt, the regime has been replaced, in Syria the regime is being shaken and this could also happen in the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria. Everyone knows that Hamas could take over the Palestinian Authority. It could happen after an agreement, it could happen before an agreement, like it happened in Gaza.”
Without mentioning President Shimon Peres by name, Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to the President’s remarks on Sunday, when he urged Israel to resume peace talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The President called him a willing peace partner with whom an agreement could be reached.
Netanyahu said, “Therefore, as opposed to the voices that I have heard recently urging me to run forward, make concessions, [and] withdraw, I think that the diplomatic process must be managed responsibly and sagaciously and not in undue haste. Otherwise a third base for Iranian terrorism will arise here, in the heart of the country. Peace can be achieved only when security is assured."
On Monday, Peres added to the controversy surrounding his statements on government policy, an area traditionally out of the realm of the President, who is supposed to be above partisan political views, especially during an election campaign.
Peres said that Israel could talk with Hamas if the terrorist organization were to accept the Quartet principles of ending terror, accepting previous agreements and recognizing Israel.
His remarks actually were nothing new, but they attracted more attention than usual because Israelis go to the polls in 20 days to elect a new Knesset.