(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this evening (Thursday, 26 January 2006), held a security discussion in the wake of the results of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections.  Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra, Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, ISA Director Yuval Diskin and other senior officials attended the discussion.

The following statement was released:

“Today, it became known that the PA elections have resulted in a victory for Hamas. There is no doubt that – from Israel’s point-of-view – a new situation has been created.

In the Roadmap, the PA committed itself to dismantling all of the terrorist organizations operating in its area.  Israel has upheld the Roadmap and has demanded – and continues to demand – that PA Chairman Abu Mazen implement the obligation to dismantle the terrorist organizations and their infrastructures.

Approximately one year ago, the PA decided to hold elections for its Legislative Council and to enable the main terrorist organization – Hamas – to take part in these elections. At the same time, the PA and its Chairman made a commitment – both to us and to the international community – that a condition for Hamas’s participation in these elections was that upon their conclusion the PA would work to disarm Hamas and turn it from a terrorist organization into a political organization, in accordance with its requirements under the Roadmap.

The international community agreed to reverse the order and allow the PA to hold the elections before the dismantling of the terrorist organizations. We demand that the PA and its Chairman honor this commitment in the shortest timeframe and both disarm Hamas and the other terrorist organizations and dismantle their other abilities to perpetrate acts of terrorism.

The State of Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian administration if its members include an armed terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel; in any case, Israel will continue to fight terrorism with a heavy hand, everywhere.

Hamas has been declared to be a terrorist organization by most of the international community. The international community will not accept a situation in which a terrorist organization takes part in an administration that seeks to enjoy international legitimacy.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni will be in contact with international leaders ahead of the upcoming Quartet meeting and the upcoming meeting of European Union foreign ministers, which are due to take place next week.  Israel will demand that the entire international community compel the PA and its Chairman to implement the commitment to eliminate Hamas as a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction.”