The Palestinian "Reconciliation"

(Washington Post) Editorial - The Palestinian reconciliation agreement formalized Wednesday in Cairo explodes the status quo that has prevailed in the West Bank and Gaza for four years - along with the diplomatic strategy pursued by the Obama administration. In agreeing to form a new cabinet with Hamas, Mr. Abbas spelled the end of the institution-building program under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad - which has been the most progressive and hopeful initiative in Palestinian affairs in many years. He turned his back on the prospect of U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu; instead, the new Palestinian administration will focus on winning recognition from the UN General Assembly. It is not clear whether the new government will recognize Israel. If it does not, the Obama administration will be legally required to cut off $600 million in U.S. aid, and Congress may do so in any case. If Hamas prisoners now held in the West Bank are released, what has been close cooperation between Israel and the U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces could come to an abrupt end. U.S. diplomacy should aim at reinforcing the notion that Palestinian statehood, whether or not it is endorsed by the UN, must be realized through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. A unified and democratically elected Palestinian leadership is a prerequisite for creating a state - but so is a government that renounces terrorism, gives up missiles and other heavy weapons, and is prepared to fully recognize Israel.

2011-05-05 00:00:00

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