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Israel and Egypt have mutual interest in peace but Netanyahu calls for an end to Fatah-Hamas reconciliation

February 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Israel’s hard-line Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said that while Israel and Egypt have a deep and mutual interest in maintaining peace, he hopes that the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas will end its reconciliation with Hamas immediately. Speaking at a joint press conference with the Romanian Prime Minister, Netanyahu said that Israel’s peace with Egypt ensures stability at the core of the Middle East.

“We know that there are many bodies which try to breach the peace,” he told journalists, “but we are working on following this up in full coordination with Egypt.” Israel and Egypt, he said, also work seriously and responsibly together to keep the peace: “There is a mutual interest in maintaining our relationship.”

Netanyahu claimed that Israel is concerned about having democratic neighbours, but the reconciliation scenario “is uncertain, and Israel could find itself in a very hostile environment”. His government, he insisted, “must be cautious and responsible, and must not put Israel’s security at risk”.

Speaking on the international sanctions that have been imposed on Iran, Netanyahu said that after the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), everyone agrees that Iran is working to obtain nuclear weapons. “The time for debate is over,” he argued. “Iran is working in every way to develop nuclear weapons.”

Tougher sanctions on Tehran are required, added the Israeli PM; more effective sanctions which affect the Iranian regime’s sources of income, such as the oil industry and the Central Bank.