Ehud Barak on Talking with Hamas

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was in Paris last week and he gave an interview to the French daily Le Figaro. This is what he had to say about an Egyptian proposal to hold four party talks on Gaza involving Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas:

I don’t see how we can accept the Egyptian proposal. We have nothing to say to Hamas. We speak to them when we interrogate them in our prisons. But this is a fundamentalist group that says openly that it has received a divine mandate to destroy Israel. One should, on the contrary, weaken Hamas and help Mahmoud Abbas to establish a stable government in the West Bank.

More generally, on the relations between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Barak said:

One thing is sure: we want gradually to reduce the Gaza Strip’s dependence on Israel. We have totally withdrawn from the territory. It makes no sense to continue to supply electricity that powers the machines that produces the rockets that are fired at us. This would be crazy.