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Israel Says It Won't Accept Hamas Government

Deputy Prime Minister Simon Peres said the Hamas victory will pose problems for Palestinians (file photo) (CTK) 26 January 2006 -- Israel's government says it can't accept a Palestinian government run by the militant group Hamas.

The response came after Hamas apparently placed first in Palestinian parliamentary elections yesterday. It's not clear yet what the composition of the new Palestinian government will be.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said he believes Hamas's victory will be a problem, first and foremost, for the Palestinians.

"I think it is, first of all, a problem for the Palestinian people, not for Israel, because Hamas is for a unilateral war, not for a unilateral peace or withdrawal."

U.S. President George W. Bush today reiterated U.S. policy that it will not deal with a group that is sworn to destroy Israel.

"A political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of its platform is a party with which we will not deal," he said.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin today expressed "concern" over Hamas's victory. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described it as "very, very negative."

Iran congratulated Hamas, saying the result reflects "the Palestinians' choice for resistance."

Russia's envoy to the Middle East, Aleksandr Kalugin, said the election result won't affect Russia's cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.

(compiled from agency reports)