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Published: Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 12:50:03 AM
Updated: Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 12:51:12 AM

Netanyahu: Israel will never negotiate with Hamas-backed government

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adjusts his tie beside Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (L) during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adjusts his tie beside Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (L) during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would never negotiate with a Palestinian government "backed by a terrorist organisation" committed to Israel's destruction.

Netanyahu told NBC News in an interview that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas still had time to reverse course on his pact with Hamas and that Israel was willing to pursue "genuine" peace negotiations.

"I will never negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by terrorist organisation committed to our destruction," Netanyahu said.

"He (Abbas) still has the opportunity to reverse the course ... to abandon this pact. I hope he does it," Netanyahu added. "Because if we encounter a Palestinian leadership and a Palestinian government that is ready to pursue genuine peace negotiations, we are going to be there. I am going to be there."

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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