London: Prime Minister David Cameron and Israel`s Benjamin Netanyahu met Wednesday to discuss the implications of the Palestinian reconciliation deal, which the Israeli leader has described as a boon to terrorists.
Cameras caught the pair sitting down for a meeting in Cameron`s Downing Street office, which began with the British leader urging his Israeli counterpart to take advantage of the changes convulsing the Middle East to reenergize the peace process. Netanyahu responded with a reference to the "great struggle under way now between the forces of democracy and moderation, and the forces of tyranny and terror."
"I think the fate of the Middle East and the fate of peace hangs in the balance," he said.
Both leaders are weighing the consequences of reconciliation pact aimed a uniting rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas. Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and Europe.
While the Israeli government has looked upon the Hamas-Fatah pact with horror, Cameron`s government has said it could spur a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians as long as Hamas renounces violence.
British officials have insisted it was too early to know whether or how international governments would potentially interact with a joint Fatah-Hamas administration, but insisted a key consideration would be assurances that funding wouldn`t be diverted to Hamas fighters.
Britain`s Middle East minister Alistair Burt said Tuesday that progress would be dependent on "both Palestinian wings continuing to reject violence, continuing with the peace process and recognising the state of Israel. As yet, Hamas has not made any move in that direction."