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Israel Warns Against A Hamas-Led Palestinian Government

Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal said peace with Israel is possible under certain conditions (file photo) (Fars) 8 February 2006 -- Israel's foreign minister says a Hamas-led Palestinian government could be designated a terrorist state, subject to sanctions, if it does not renounce terrorism and recognize Israel.

Speaking at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that if a state is being led by terrorists, it means that the state is going to "[turn] into a terror state."

Rice cautioned against any moves by Israeli to establish final borders with the Palestinians. Her remarks followed acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s announcement that he intends to keep major settlements in the West Bank -- a decision that could shape the borders of a Palestinian state.

Rice restated the U.S. policy that all final status issues in the peace process, including a Palestinian state, need to be addressed through negotiations between the two sides.

"[U.S. President George W. Bush] did say that at the time of final status [talks], it will be necessary to take into account new realities on the ground that have changed since 1967, but under no circumstances should anyone try and do that in a preemptive or predetermined way because these are issues for negotiation at final status [talks]."

Earlier today, the political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said a long-term truce with Israel will be possible, if it accepted certain conditions, including a return to its 1967 borders.

But he said Hamas will not renounce violence since it believes resistance against what it considers an occupation is legal.

(compiled from agency reports)

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