Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Israel has responded harshly to the Hamas, which has secured a resounding victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas was "not a partner" in the peace process and would be reduced to irrelevance.

"Israel and the world will ignore it and make it irrelevant," he said.

Hardline Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu observed that "The state of `Hamastan' has been created before our eyes - an Iranian satellite state in the image of the Taliban. It was created in close proximity to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion International Airport. We need to do some soul-searching. " Former Prime Minster Shimon Perez said Hamas would have to face a situation where international aid to the Palestinians would be terminated.