RAMALLAH, June 11 (JMCC) - Nearly two dozen former officials and politicians have called for the United States and European Union to recognize a Palestinian government expected to be formed as a result of an accord between factions Hamas
The open letter, published in Der Spiegel
, says conditions that Hamas recognize Israel, stop violence and accept signed peace agreements before engagement should be treated as goals rather than requirements for recognition.
The new unity deal and the developments in the wider region offer a chance for course correction by the US and the EU. The so-called Quartet principles including recognition of Israel should be treated as goals rather than preconditions of engagement with the Palestinian leadership and factions. Adherence to a ceasefire and non-violence is a realistic threshold from which to commence negotiations.
By supporting Palestinian unity at this vital juncture, the US and the EU have an opportunity to show their commitment to the two-state solution as well as to the democratic aspirations currently being voiced throughout the broader Middle East. The alternative is hard to contemplate. If Palestinian reconciliation is undermined, it will throw the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an even deeper impasse, with dramatic consequences for all parties and the international community at large.
The conditions, put in place after Hamas' 2006 elections win by the Quartet committee made up of the United States, United Nations, Russia and European Union, set the stage for the failure of the Hamas government and a subsequent shared government with Fateh.
Hamas armed forces in 2007 overran Palestinian Authority security installations
and the Islamist group has held power there ever since. Israel has imposed a severe blockade
on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza as a means of pressuring Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization in the US and much of Europe.
Fateh and Hamas recently signed an accord
calling for a shared government of independents, new elections and the incorporation of Hamas into the Palestine Liberation Organization.
US President Barack Obama recently criticized the agreement in a policy speech
, and Israel briefly halted the transfer of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian government as a warning over the deal with Hamas.