Could a Hamas-Fatah unity government be a partner for peace?
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When the Hamas government first came into power, Hamas' statements advocating violence, opposing a two-state solution,
and denying Israel's right to exist, as well as its direct involvement in terrorism, served to prompt the international
Quartet (comprised of the US, Europe, Russia and the UN) to set three conditions for any Palestinian government to
attain international legitimacy and cooperation. These basic conditions are: recognizing Israel's right to exist,
renouncing terrorism and violence, and accepting previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.
The international community has demanded that any Palestinian government must be committed to these three conditions and that "it should contain no member" who has not committed to them. Therefore, a unity government, which would include the extremists of Hamas, could not be a partner to peace.
The conditions set out by the Quartet, which Hamas continues to reject, are not obstacles to peace, but rather the basic tests by which the international community can determine whether a Palestinian government is capable of being a side to peace negotiations.
Were any government which refuses to meet these basic principles for peace to receive international legitimacy and support, this would be a grave setback for prospects of peace, and a betrayal of the genuine moderates, on both sides of the conflict, who truly believe in a two-state solution to the conflict and seek to make it a reality.
The goal of any peace process, i.e. 'two states living side by side in peace and security' can never come about if one side continues to advocate the use of terror. For this reason, the Quartet has repeatedly insisted that any Palestinian government renounce terrorism and violence.
These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.
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