Israeli ambassador: 'The road for peace goes over Hamas'
By ERIC BRADNER |
8/3/14 11:39 AM EDT
The Israeli ambassador to the United States said on Sunday “the road for peace goes over Hamas,” underscoring the complexity of brokering peace between Israel and a unified Palestinian government that includes the Gaza-based group.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ambassador Ron Dermer said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to form a unity government this spring was “a terrible thing for peace.”
His comments came just minutes after Riyad Mansour, permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, appearing on the same program, called for the peace talks to take place in Egypt to “address the tragic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”
Mansour deflected several questions from host David Gregory about the role Hamas has played in fueling the conflict in Gaza.
“Hamas is part of the Palestinian political configuration," Mansour said. "The question is how to deal with that. The first step is the national consensus government. Israel is trying to destroy this government."
Dermer said it was “very telling” that Mansour “would not condemn Hamas.”
Abbas has “embraced terrorists” by forming a unity government with the Gaza-based Hamas, Dermer said.
Asked why Israel won’t participate in peace talks in Cairo with that unity government, Dermer said: “What’s the point?”
“The road for peace goes over Hamas,” Dermer said. “It doesn’t include Hamas.”
Israel’s military is a “matter of hours” away from finishing its push to destroy the Hamas-built network of tunnels from Gaza, Dermer said, and the military’s focus will then shift to keeping Hamas from making similar gains in the future.
“What we don’t want to see is us simply leaving and allowing Hamas to use the time to simply re-arm thousands of rockets, more tunnels,” he said. “We have to make sure that we have an effective mechanism to prevent Hamas from re-arming and refueling its war machine.”