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It would seem that the international community is reconciling itself to considering Hamas as part of the official Palestinian government.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. government could accept a Palestinian government with Hamas if the group renounced violence and recognised Israel. The New York Times reports:
“There are many steps that have yet to be undertaken in order to implement the agreement,” she said. “And we are going to be carefully assessing what this actually means because there are a number of different potential meanings to it, both on paper and in practice.”
Even Netanyahu has an extended an olive branch saying Israel could support a Palestinian state before September, if the government agreed to peace with Israel. Haaretz reports:
“The idea is not to establish a Palestinian state to continue the conflict as Hamas wants – but to establish state so as to end conflict. What they want now is to form a state so as to continue trying to destroy us and pursuing the war on terror.”
“The expectation we have, and any fair minded person would have, is that we ask of anyone who says they want peace with Israel to abandon the goal of destroying Israel. We can make peace with an enemy but only an enemy who wants peace,” Netanyahu stressed.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said he is willing to work towards a two-state solution. The New York Times reports:
But Mr. Meshal was in no mood for concessions. In an interview in his Cairo hotel suite, he declined to swear off violence or agree that a Palestinian state would produce an end to the conflict — key demands of Israel, the United States and Europe. He defined his goal as “a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, without any settlements or settlers, not an inch of land swaps and respecting the right of return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel itself.
…He added that over the coming months that, as Hamas and Fatah work out their differences, “we are ready to reach an agreement on how to manage resistance.” He noted that Hamas had entered into cease-fires with Israel in the past and that it was ready to do so in the future. There is one in effect right now. “If occupation ends,” he said, “resistance ends. If Israel stops firing, we stop firing.”
Rifts also seem to be surfacing in the the Quartet on the Middle East, a consortium comprised of the UN, US, Russia and the EU established in 2002 to deal with conflict in the Middle East.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that if the peace process isn’t on track in September France will “face up to its responsibilities” on recognising a Palestinian state. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel categorically said unilateral decision would be “unhelpful” and stressed a return to peace talks between the warring states.