Jerusalem: Describing the newly sworn-in Palestinian unity government as "terrorists in suits", Israel on Monday said time has come to go on the offensive rather than act defensively and to do what is good for the country.
Israel`s Economic Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett reacted angrily to the reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah threatening that Israel should annex Area C of the West Bank.
Bennett said that Hamas`s membership in the Palestinian Authority government meant that "the prospect of a Palestinian state ran into the wall of reality today. It`s time to switch from defence to the attack and do what is good for Israel".
He described the newly sworn-in Palestinian ministers as "terrorists in suits".
Barring last minute haggling over the cabinet`s makeup, the Palestinian unity government was sworn in by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas today amid strong protest and threats from Israel.
During the new government`s first meeting, which was chaired by Abbas, the Palestinian President said that the government is committed to the two-state solution along the 1967 border lines,
recognising Israel, renouncing violence and respecting past agreements, which are the key demands made by the Quartet of UN, US, EU and Russia from any Palestinian government.
"We are committed to what we said. Cooperation with Israel regarding security matters will continue so as to preserve the Palestinian interest," the Palestinian leader said.
However, the declaration to fulfill the Quartet demands failed to impress Israel.
Hamas has a charter that calls for Jews to be killed and as a result the government of Israel decided unanimously not to recognise it or maintain contact with it, Bennett said.
He warned that Israel must act on his annexation plan "because time was not working in its favour".
"Every day that passes in which we do not initiate and act, endangers Israeli citizens and broadcasts to the world that there is no price for terrorism against Jews," he said.
Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned world governments should not rush to approve the new Palestinian government.