CAIRO: President Hosni Mubarak believes that after Hamas becomes the Palestinian government, it will succumb to international pressure, renounce violence and recognize Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday.
Hamas, whose suicide bombers have killed hundreds of Israelis, won a landslide victory in the Palestinian elections last month and is set to take over the Palestinian Authority within weeks. Israel, with Western support, has demanded that the militant group abandon violence, recognize Israel s right to exist and honor previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
The president says that he believes that Hamas will change its ways in the future and adopt the Israeli conditions, Mofaz told Israel Radio in Cairo, where he had gone for talks with Mubarak and other Egyptian officials.
President Mubarak will exert all efforts to convince Hamas to accept all of Israel s conditions, Mofaz told reporters in Hebrew, which was translated into Arabic.
Mubarak s spokesman could not be reached for comment. Last week, Hamas leaders told reporters in Cairo that in their meetings with government officials, Egypt had not put any pressure on them to yield to Israel s demands.
No way the state of Israel will speak with Hamas without all these conditions, Mofaz said in English, referring to the need for Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel and existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements. I say again, no way that the state of Israel will have a discussion with Hamas without all these conditions.
Hamas has repeatedly refused to change its policy on Israel since its triumph in the Jan. 25 elections. It has invited its defeated rival, the Fatah party, to join a coalition government, but Fatah leaders have so far declined to do so, apparently fearing that Hamas would use their ministers to conduct business with Israel.
Hamas control of the Palestinian authority will make it part of an axis of evil – starting from Iran, passing through Hezbollah in Lebanon to Hamas in the Palestinian territories and other terrorist organizations in the region, Mofaz said in Hebrew.
Asked if Egypt had given him a word from Hamas, Mofaz replied: We didn t come here to get messages from Hamas.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the United States and Israel were considering a campaign to bring down a Hamas government by starving the Palestinian Authority of cash. Israel transfers about $50 million to the authority every month as revenue from income and customs taxes collected on its behalf.
Asked about the report, Mofaz s Arabic translator reported him as saying: I don t deny or confirm that report. A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Stewart Tuttle, had no comment on the report. A Hamas spokesman, Mushir Al-Masri, said attempts to bring down Hamas were hypocritical.
This is … A rejection of the democratic process, which the Americans are calling for day and night, Al-Masri said in Gaza.
Mofaz said he briefed Mubarak on Hezbollah s attacks against Israeli soldiers along the south Lebanon border. He accused Syria of backing the Lebanese guerrilla movement, and said Syria s aim was to open a second front against Israel.
We are waiting for Syria to implement UN Security Council resolution 1559 to get rid of the Hamas and Jihad presence in Damascus and allow the Lebanese army to have full control on the Lebanese territory, Mofaz said.
He was referring to Syria s hosting members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian militant group, and to the fact that the Lebanese army has never fully deployed in southern Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah militia to maintain control, since Israel withdrew its forces from the area in 2000. Agencies