“Olmert: Hamas Not a Strategic Threat,” from AP:
JERUSALEM – Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that Hamas is not a strategic threat to the Jewish state, signaling that he has no plans to take military action against the violent group, which swept Palestinian elections last month.
As Hamas worked to form a new Cabinet, the group struck a deal to receive financing from Iran, a virulent enemy of Israel. Israel threatened to block the money and warned the Palestinians against aligning themselves with an international “pariah.”
Hamas, which has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings, has rejected international calls to moderate, despite Israel’s efforts to isolate the group internationally and Western threats to cut off vital financial aid….
According to participants in the closed meeting, Olmert said the Palestinian Authority will be “contaminated with terror” once a Hamas Cabinet takes power.
However, “Hamas is not a strategic threat,” he said.
Israeli Cabinet Minister Meir Sheetrit said the government did not fear Hamas and did not plan extreme measures that could be counterproductive.
“We’re not afraid of the Hamas in any way. They do not threaten our existence,” he told The Associated Press.