The White House is being very cautious for now on the news today that the Palestinian political organizations Fatah and Hamas are reconciling, opening up the opportunity for a unified Palestinian leadership.
The deal clears the way for a new round of soon-to-be-announced Palestinian elections.
“We have seen the press reports and are seeking more information. As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
"To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Vietor added.
There is reason for hope: Fatah is the political party founded by the late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat -- once labeled a terrorist and then hailed as a peacemaker with Israel. There is no reason Hamas too cannot amend its ways and recognize Israel as the legitimate democracy it is and potential economic partner it can be.
Israeli hardline leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, slammed the Palestinian reconciliation accord even before it was announced.
“The Palestinian Authority has to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a televised address. “Peace with both of them is impossible, because Hamas aspires to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly.”