This is from the Australian. Obviously Israel and the US, the latter arming Abbas, would prefer that Fatah prevailed over Hamas. If the US and Israel really were just interested in an agreement they would not impose preconditions on negotiations that make it virtually impossible for Hamas to take part. The US obviously doesn't consider being democratically elected enough to recognise Hamas and Israel has refused even to return all taxes collected for the Palestinians.
Israel pushes Hamas for more
February 12, 2007
ISRAEL yesterday rejected the incoming Palestinian unity Government's implicit recognition of its right to exist and called on European backers to do the same.
A tacit acceptance of past peace agreements signed between the Jewish state and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation was the centrepiece of the unity deal signed between the leaders of Hamas and Fatah in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
The announcement was the furthest Hamas officials had moved from their previously implacable stance that Israel should be wiped out.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday only an explicit recognition of Israel and a renunciation of violence should satisfy the international community.
Mr Olmert said he would appeal to western Europe to take a similar stand. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in Europe on business, appealed directly to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU chiefs.
A potential split has emerged among the international community in the wake of the deal, with Russia - a key member of the so-called Quartet - welcoming the announcement and suggesting it could lead to a break in an aid boycott in place for the 12 months since Hamas won Palestinian Authority elections.
In a joint statement, Russia, the EU, the UN and US withheld judgment on whether the new national unity government met requirements.
"The Quartet welcomes the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in reaching the agreement to form a Palestinian national unity government. The Quartet expresses hope that the desired calm will prevail," the group said.
Hamas said yesterday that the issue of outright recognition of Israel had not been discussed during the Mecca summit - and would not be tabled in the future.
Instead, he said past deals, signed after former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat sought peace with Israel during the 90s, would be accepted and honoured.
Israeli officials said their disappointment with the stance of the incoming government would not lead to a cancellation of tripartite talks planned for next Monday between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Ms Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.