Ephraim Sneh, Israeli deputy defense minister, told the Israeli Ynet online daily that talks with some Palestinian ministers of the new government are possible. His statements contradict the Israeli government's officials stance regarding this issue. Sneh stated that Israel must “consider dialogue with some ministers of the Palestinian government which was formally establish on Saturday”, and that he is aware that his statements contradict the official stance of his government and its Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
Olmert said that Israel would not deal with the new government, but will not cut ties with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
Also, Sneh said that the new government “is bad for the Palestinians, since it does not promote a peace deal”, the Ynet added.
He added that Hamas movement is bad for Israel and the Palestinians, and considered the new government as “a ceasefire government, but not a unity government”.
Sneh warned that if Israel decides to deal with Hamas it would be sending a “negative signal to Iran”, adding that Israel cannot deal with a government led by Ismail Haniyya, from Hamas, and cannot deal with a government that “fails to accept the demands of the Quartet”.
“We lost this battle”, Sneh stated, “but we must fight hard to make the new Palestinian government comply with the international demands; recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept the previous peace deals”.
He also slammed European countries for expressing willingness to deal with the new Palestinian government and claimed that the EU failed to understand that giving legitimacy “to Hamas means helping Iran to grow in strength”, according to Sneh.
Moreover, Sneh called on the Israeli government to “have its own initiative, since talks between Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, are insufficient”.
He added that Israel must defeat the Palestinian government politically, seing as if the PA is politically defeated, it will also be defeated militarily, Sneh said.
Sneh also said that he supports releasing the Palestinian Tax revenue Israel is withholding since Hamas was elected last year.
Meanwhile, a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem stated on Saturday that Israel “was struggling to prevent the international community from recognizing the Palestinian government”.