"He can have peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas. He can’t have both."
"Abbas has embraced one of the preeminent terrorist organizations of our time, committed to the annihilation of the Jewish state."

 Abbas' pact with Hamas


Copyright: Courtesy ITIC

Following are excerpts from interviews Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave (24-27 April 2014) to international media outlets (BBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC) following the pact made between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas terrorist organization.

A pact with Hamas or peace with Israel:

"He [Abbas] made a decision: instead of choosing to embrace peace with Israel, he made a pact with Hamas, a terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction. He can have peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas. He can’t have both. I hope that he decides to abandon this pact with the terrorist Hamas and come back to the peace with Israel." (BBC: Interview with Jeremy Bowen, 24 April 2014)

"[Abbas has] embraced one of the preeminent terrorist organizations of our time, committed to the annihilation of the Jewish state, committed in its charter to the murder of Jews wherever they are. This is the partner that he chose and he has to choose: either peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas. He can’t have both. He chose Hamas. So unless President Abbas changes his decision on a pact with Hamas, he’s effectively killed the peace process." (Fox News: Interview with Bret Baier, 24 April 2014)

"I think the pact with Hamas kills peace. If it [the pact] moves forward, it means that peace moves backwards." (MSNBC: Interview with Andrea Mitchell, 24 April 2014)

The Hamas terrorist organization:

"These people [Hamas] are calling for the obliteration of the Jewish state, are engaged in terror campaigns for decades and are openly calling for the killing of Jews wherever you find them. That’s what their covenant says. These are illegitimate players." (MSNBC, 24 April 2014)

"Hamas in its own constitution says wherever you see Jews, kill them, and in fact, they’ve been practicing what they preach because they fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza, Hamas terrorists have fired over 10,000 rockets and missiles on Israel’s cities, on our schools, on our children. They’re not only preaching our destruction, they’re practicing it." (BBC, 24 April 2014)

"Hamas has praised Osama Bin-Laden as a great holy warrior and condemned the United States for killing Bin-Laden. This is the organization that we are now asked to sit with." (MSNBC, 24 April 2014)

No negotiations with a Hamas-backed government:

"I will not, as the prime minister of Israel, negotiate with a government that is backed by the Hamas terror organization committed to our destruction…. This is one of the most preeminent terrorist organizations of our time." (CNN, State of the Union, Interview with Candy Crowley, 27 April 2014)

"You don’t negotiate with al-Qaeda, political negotiations; we don’t negotiate with Hamas as long as they seek our destruction. You have to be very clear on that. And I’m being very clear. And I think that not being clear endangers peace. Because when you talk to people who seek your obliteration, you’re not going to advance peace, you’re going to produce the opposite." (CBS, Face the Nation, Interview with Bob Schieffer, 27 April 2014)

"… We will not negotiate with a government backed by Hamas unless Hamas had changed its position; unless Hamas said I’m willing to recognize Israel. But Hamas, including after this pact with Abbas, is saying the very opposite – it is saying Israel is going to be destroyed, we’ll continue the terror campaign against Israel." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

The pact with Hamas: A leap backward:

"What he’s [Abbas] done now is to take a giant leap backward and he’s run into the arms of the very people who seek not merely not to recognize us, but to annihilate us. That’s incompatible with peace." (BBC, 24 April 2014)

"I hope he [Abbas] changes his mind… I think it’s important for the Palestinian people because they have to choose. They can’t have it both ways. They can either move forward towards peace or backwards towards Hamas. Unfortunately yesterday President Abbas moved away from peace and went backwards, a giant step backwards into the arms of terrorist organizations." (BBC, 24 April 2014)

Israel’s willingness to continue negotiations:

"In fact, what I say to him [Abbas] very simply is this: President Abbas, tear up your pact with Hamas. Recognize the Jewish state. Make peace. I hope you do that. But you can’t have both Hamas and peace with Israel." (CBS, Face the Nation, 27 April 2014)

"Either Hamas disavows the destruction of Israel and embraces peace and denounces terror, or President Abbas renounces Hamas. If one of those things happened, then we can get back to the peace negotiations. I hope that he renounces Hamas. I hope that he gets back to the peace table." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

Alternative paths to peace:

"I still hope that we’ll find a way to peace. You know, if we can’t get it through a negotiated agreement because of the composition of the Palestinian government, then we’ll seek other ways…. I do seek a two-state-for-two-peoples solution. If I can’t have it right away with his [Abbas’] Palestinian government, then we’ll seek other ways. I called on my Cabinet ministers today and I said: we’re going to take time out now for a reassessment and try to figure out alternative paths to peace. But the simplest way to get back to the peace process is to have President Abbas renounce the pact with Hamas and come back to negotiations." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

Israel’s appreciation for the US role:

"I think the United States has been indispensable in all the peace negotiations that we’ve had up to now. It doesn’t obviate the need for genuine, direct contact between the parties, but it can help a lot. And I appreciate Secretary Kerry’s unbelievable efforts. They don’t always succeed, and unfortunately President Abbas made sure of that by embracing Hamas. But I have to credit John Kerry for his efforts." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

The international community:

"We have a clear understanding between the United States and Israel that Israel, as I said, will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas. I think what’s important is to bring that clarity to the entire international system, or at least to most of it, because this is a giant step away from peace that the Palestinian president took." (MSNBC, 24 April 2014)

The Palestinian claim that Israel refused to negotiate because of the split between Fatah and Hamas:

"I’ve negotiated in earnest for the last nine months and before that too. I worked very closely with Secretary Kerry for days and weeks, days at a time, and we made some significant progress. And I thought we were on route to making more progress." (CBS, Face the Nation, 27 April 2014)

"I hear people write that up [the claim that Israel refused to negotiate because of the Fatah-Hamas split], but in fact it’s the very opposite. I said right from the start… I could wait until President Abbas represents the entire Palestinian people, but in this case we’ll wait until eternity and we won’t have peace. So I chose deliberately, openly, specifically and explicitly to negotiate with that part of the Palestinian people that said it was willing to make peace with Israel. I said we are not going to try to include the other part that seeks our extermination. And that’s what I did. I’ve been very consistent on this." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

The Palestinian claim that Israel is using the pact with Hamas to avoid negotiations:

"You can repeat this ad nauseam, all these characterizations and cast Israel as the heavy or me as the heavy. It’s not important. Test facts. What did I do for peace? I gave a speech to my constituency and I told them we’re going to have to have two states for two peoples. That’s first for the [unclear]. Then I did something that no prime minister in Israel ever did: I was the first prime minister to freeze construction in the settlements. And then I did something else, which I think is the most agonizing decision of my three tenures and that was to release these terrorists who murdered Israelis, all for the sake of engaging in peace. And I ask you, what did President Abbas do? What has he done? He’s done one thing: he embraced the terrorists who are out to destroy us." (BBC, 24 April 2014)

The Palestinian strategy:

"We’ve been tracking the talk and the discussion about going to this direction, embracing Hamas and even Islamic Jihad and other Hamas-like terror organizations in Gaza for many months, well before we got to the fourth tranche of prisoner releases. We also saw documents in which they’re talking not only about embracing Hamas but also abandoning the peace process and going unilaterally to international organizations. So I think this is perhaps part of a deliberate strategy." (MSNBC, 24 April 2014)

The fourth prisoner release:

"These are not prisoners; these are terrorists who have murdered Israelis and I made an agonizing decision, in the pursuit of advancing peace, to release them but I wasn’t going to release the last batch when President Abbas was clearly thinking of throwing up the whole peace process and smashing it to the ground, as unfortunately he has." (MSNBC, 24 April 2014)

Abbas’ statement on the Holocaust:

"I try to reconcile that [PA Pres. Abbas’ statement on the Holocaust] with the fact that he embraced just a few days ago the Hamas terrorist organization that denies the Holocaust and openly calls for a new extermination of the six million Jews of Israel. So President Abbas can’t have it both ways. He can’t say the Holocaust was terrible, but at the same time embrace those who deny the Holocaust and seek to perpetrate another destruction of the Jewish people." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

"I think probably what he’s trying to do is damage control. I think what President Abbas is trying to do is to placate Western public opinion that understands that he delivered a terrible blow to the peace process by embracing these Hamas terrorists, and I think he’s trying to wiggle his way out of it." (CNN, 27 April 2014)

Palestinian unity:

"Now that he [Abbas] has joined them [Hamas], I say this: Unity for peace is good. Unity with Hamas that seeks to exterminate Israel – the opposite of peace – is bad. I’ve always been consistent on this. I negotiate with those who are willing to make peace with my country. I will not negotiate with those who seek to exterminate peace with my country…" (CNN, 27 April 2014)

"United for peace? Absolutely. United for terror and the destruction of Israel? No." (BBC, 24 April 2014)

Negotiating with enemies:

"You want to make peace with an enemy, but only with an enemy that’s decided to make peace. An enemy that seeks your destruction, what are we going to talk about, the method of our self-annihilation?  I mean, it just doesn’t make sense." (Face the Nation, CBS, 27 April 2014)