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Israel Condemns Palestinian Reconciliation Deal


Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (left) welcomes a prisoner wearing a Hamas headband following the release of hundreds of prisoners from Israeli jails in October.
Israel's prime minister says it will be impossible to hold peace talks if the Palestinians go through with a new reconciliation deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has chosen to "abandon the way of peace" by reaching a power-sharing deal with the Hamas militant group.

At a meeting in Qatar earlier on February 6, Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal agreed that Abbas will head a Palestinian unity government to prepare for elections later this year.

The deal aims to end a rift which has seen Gaza and the West Bank run by separate governments over the past four years -- a Hamas administration in Gaza and Abbas' Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group.

Compiled from agency reports