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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Netanyahu sends Putin fiery letter

As most of you can probably imagine, there is quite a fury in Israel over Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that he intends to recognize the Hamas-led 'Palestinian government.' Last night, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu sent a 'fiery' letter to Putin, and this morning, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has asked the Russian President to 're-think' his position.

Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu sent Russian President Vladimir Putin a fiery letter on Friday criticizing his decision to invite Hamas leaders to Moscow.

Netanyahu reminded the Russian leader of his condemnation of Palestinian terror during a meeting Netanyahu held with Putin in Moscow in 2000. He warned him of the ramifications of legitimizing terror by inviting the Hamas leaders.

"Such a move can only provide legitimacy to a terrorist organization that has been defined as such by the entire international community, including the Federal Law of Russia itself," Netanyahu wrote.

"Hamas is not only an organization that has the blood of countless innocent men, women and children on its hands, it also declares openly that its goal is to destroy the state of Israel. The decision to invite the leaders of this murderous organization to Moscow will start a process of legitimizing fundamentalist Islamic terror that plagues the entire world."

The Likud campaign released a statement blaming the invitations of Hamas leaders to Russia and France on Kadima's policies. The Likud said that the international community only began making overtures to Hamas after acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to continue to send tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority. [This is true folks. CiJ]

An earlier edition of this article, which is no longer on the JPost website, said that Netanyahu asked why Putin is opposed to Chechen violence against Russia, and yet countenances Hamas.

Here's the Mofaz story:

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz called on Russia to reconsider its decision to meet with Hamas leaders in Moscow later this month in a meeting yesterday with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov at the NATO forum in Taormina, Sicily.

According to security officials, Mofaz informed Ivanov that he was personally willing to visit Moscow to explain the dangers of legitimizing Hamas, which is and remains a terror organization, he said.

Russia's invitation to Hamas has created a schism in the united international front against terror, Mofaz said. "I ask you to reconsider your decision, which is problematic and legitimizes Hamas's existence," he said.

Mofaz recalled Russian President Vladimir Putin's past statements demanding that the international community stand as a united front in combatting terror. "Today we have the capability to utilize that cooperation; you suffer from the Chechnya threat as we suffer from Hamas and Hizbullah, and the world from al-Qaida," Mofaz told Ivanov.

Israel, which enjoyed widespread international support in its stand, continued to maintain a policy of refusing to embark on any dialogue with terror organizations, Mofaz said. At the same time, Israel expected Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to disarm terror groups and proceed with the road map, he said.

It was illogical that Russia, which called on the international community to combat terror, was at the same time willing to open its gates to Hamas leaders, Mofaz said. Especially at a time when Israel had succeeded in receiving widespread support from the world not to embark on dialogue with a terror organization, he added.

Hamas sought to create a PA filled with terror, Mofaz said. Its victory directly affected the future of the PA and raised questions concerning who would lead the Palestinian people in the future, he said.


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