March 15, 2007
Associated Press

Israel Says It Won't Work With Coalition

by Ibrahim Barzak

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The rival Hamas and Fatah movements formed a long-elusive unity government Thursday, hoping to end bloody infighting and lead the Palestinians out of yearlong international isolation. Israel immediately said, however, that it would not deal with the new government.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the Islamic militant Hamas announced the final coalition agreement and platform after months of stop-and-go negotiations. It is to be approved by the Palestinian parliament on Saturday.

The coalition platform posted on Hamas and Fatah Web sites calls for continued observance of a truce with Israel but falls short of Israeli, U.S. and European requirements that the new government recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous peace deals.

The new government's platform includes only a vague pledge to "respect" past peace deals, falling short of explicit recognition of Israel.

It also affirms the Palestinians' right to resist and "defend themselves against any Israeli aggression."

While many in the West consider "resistance" to be a code word for violent attacks, Palestinians have a wide variety of definitions that can encompass anything from armed attacks to street protests.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said his government will boycott the coalition government and encourage other countries to do the same because its program falls short of the international conditions for acceptance that include recognition of the Jewish state. . . .


Enver Masud, "Abu Mazen: Israel's New 'Security Subcontractor'?," The Wisdom Fund, January 16, 2005

Scott Wilson and Glenn Kessler, "U.S. Funds Enter Fray In Palestinian Elections," Washington Post, January 22, 2006

Jimmy Carter, "Don't Punish the Palestinians," Washington Post, February 20, 2006

[The Bush administration is once again in the process of committing a major policy blunder in the Middle East, one that is liable to have disastrous consequences and is not receiving the attention it should. This time it concerns the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. The Bush administration is actively supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the US State Department considers a terrorist organization. This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East.--George Soros, "On Israel, America and AIPAC," New York Review of Books, April 12, 2007]

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