No peace without Hamas, German leader says

The Times of Israel - 14 March 2012 - From Raphael Ahren

The man who could become Germany’s next chancellor wants Israel to engage in dialogue with Hamas and supports the Palestinian bid for membership in the United Nations, according to German media.

"Hamas is a factor in this conflict. And you can’t solve a conflict if one factor is being ignored,” Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of Germany’s main opposition party SPD, told reporters Monday in Jerusalem. Gabriel also said that he had planned to visit the Gaza Strip and meet with a Hamas representative, but canceled due to the current cross-border conflict, during which the Palestinian terrorists fired over 200 rockets at Israel’s south and the IDF retaliated with air strikes.

It was logical that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought reconciliation with Hamas, Gabriel said, according to the German news agency DPA. "Without them [Hamas], the Palestinians can never hold serious negotiations with the Israelis, because they could never know if agreements with one faction would then also be kept by the other faction,” DPA quoted Gabriel as saying. (...)