Israel ready to destroy Hamas militants

Mail & Globe:

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday ruled out contacts with a Hamas-led Palestinian government until the Islamic group renounces violence, and Israel's defence minister threatened to "liquidate" Hamas militants involved in attacks.

With the latest comments, Israel showed no signs of backing down from the tough line it has taken since Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian legislative elections last week.

The group, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, is expected to lead the next Palestinian government, hurting the chances for a peace deal. However, a Hamas-backed Palestinian lawmaker said he believes the group is flexible enough to reach an understanding with Israel.

Also on Sunday, about 7 000 Israeli security forces, anticipating violent resistance, were training to dismantle two small West Bank settler outposts later this week, police said. Resistance is expected to be fierce in Amona and among Israeli squatters who took over an abandoned market in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

The operation marks the Israel's first evacuation of Jewish settlers since its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank last August.

The settlers should just be told that they can no longer depend on Israel for their security if they do not move. Any of them unwise enough to stay with Hamas in charge of security would find themselves in a lonely fight.


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