British PM Blair says the international community should deal with a Palestinian unity government. Hamas thereupon rejects Blair’s conditions
Addressing a joint news conference with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Sunday, Tony Blair welcomed Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to establish a unity government between his own Fatah and the ruling Hamas.
debkafile adds: Members of the Blair delegation asked the British correspondents to stress his view that to gain international acceptance, any Palestinian unity government must accept Middle East Quartet (US UK, Russia, France and UN endorsement) principles, namely the road map. Hamas, whose leaders the British premier did not meeti, instantly rejected that condition out of hand.
The unity government notion gave Tony Blair a formula for trying to bridge between the “diplomatic horizon” Israeli prime minister Olmert proposed at the Israeli government Sunday and the positions laid down by Abbas (a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital and a solution of the refugee problem) and Hamas (non-recognition of Israel, non-renunciation of terror).
This formula would lead to Israel being led by the nose to accept Hamas as Abbas’s partner without Hamas recognizing the Jewish state, forswearing violence or even returning its Israeli hostage, Cpl Gideon Shalit.
In the view of debkafile‘s political sources, the chances of a Palestinian unity government coming to life are dim. Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya’s rejection of Blair’s initiative was predictable. He is hardly likely to split his Hamas organization in half on the strength of an initiative conceived by three leaders who themselves stand on unsteady ground.
Abbas had nothing to lose by taking up Olmert’s offer of a meeting without pre-conditions as a way to keep his hand in the game without doing anything.