Will Obama Break his Promise and Force Israel to Negotiate with Hamas?

The commitment had been given to Israel during President Obama’s first term

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There's plenty of precedent for it. Obama broke Bush's understanding with Israel after the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Or rather he pretended that it had never existed.

He's engaged in outreach to Hamas before through an advisor who was fired and recently returned to duty. And considering his affinity for the Muslim Brotherhood, whose affiliate Hamas is, any promise he made is likely not to be worth the paper it's sneezed on.

Finally. Israel was forced to negotiate with the PLO under Bush I under just such a pretext.

Days after suspending American-brokered Middle East peace talks because of a reconciliation pact reached between the Palestine Liberation Organization and its rival Hamas, the Islamic militant group, Israel on Monday raised a new source of potential tension with the United States over Washington’s approach to the unity government planned by the Palestinians.

Dore Gold, a senior adviser to Mr. Netanyahu and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, reiterated that Israel would not deal with a Palestinian unity government so long as Hamas did not accept the international principles.

“We are not overwhelmed by a group of gentlemen wearing suits while in the back room the real control is with Fatah and Hamas,” Mr. Gold said in a recent interview. “The technocrats will be under the clear direction of the two movements,” he added.

Israel has stated that it will not resume negotiations with any Palestinian government that is supported by Hamas, even if that government is made up of political independents and apolitical technocratic figures who meet international conditions for acceptance. An Israeli official said on Monday that Israel had in the past received “a specific commitment from the American administration” backing that position — a claim that appeared to be at odds with some more recent signals from Washington.

A senior State Department official said Monday that the administration was “not going to reveal the details of private conversations.”

So State won't confirm or deny the existence of such commitments which communicates that 1. Such a commitment did indeed exist. 2. The administration doesn't intend to keep it.

The Israeli official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the subject’s diplomatic delicacy, said that the commitment had been given to Israel during President Obama’s first term in office and that it had been restated since his re-election. The official would not specify whether the commitment had been given in writing or by the president himself...

But since the Palestinian factions announced the agreement to heal their schism last Wednesday, including plans to form a unity government of technocrats within five weeks and to hold elections six months later, the American administration’s position toward a unity government has appeared less clear-cut.

Later, when asked whether the demand was for Hamas to change its long-held positions, Ms. Psaki said that if President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority “were to continue to pursue reconciliation, Hamas would need to abide by these principles in order to be a part of the government.”

“So if it’s a unified government, yes, they would need to abide by these principles,” she said. But her statement did not appear to address Israel’s concerns about a unity government in which Hamas did not play a direct part.

Hamas has made it rather clear that it won't accept them, but there's an easy solution. Just as with the PLO, pretend it had.

The Washington Post already tried to pull that stunt to no avail. Hamas shot them down.

But subsequent comments by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying that a unity government led by him will recognize Israel, coupled with statements to the same effect attributed to Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu by The Washington Post on Saturday night, prompted several Hamas officials to speak up on Sunday.

“What I was quoted as telling the American paper is wrong, and I unequivocally deny it,” Nunu told the Palestinian Qudsnet news agency. “The issue of Hamas recognizing Israel is a complete nonstarter… aimed primarily at weakening the movement’s positions on Israel.”

Nunu said he would seek legal recourse against The Washington Post for its “false report.”

If the train keeps rolling down the tracks and Abbas and Hamas maintain a united front, Washington D.C. will have two choices.

A. End the peace process farce

B. Force Israel to negotiate while claiming that once a final agreement is reached, Hamas will also be bound by it.

Guess which one Kerry and Obama will choose.

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