President Bush in his State of the Union speech reiterated leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace

Tbe US supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East but elections are only the beginning. The Palestinian people have voted in elections – but now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorist and work for lasting peace.
Iran, he went on to say, is a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon — and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions — and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.
Earlier, debkafile reported from Washington:
In the hours leading up to US president George W. Bush’s fifth State of the Union speech, he pondered the pros and cons of referring directly to the rise of Hamas and spelling out White House policy on the terrorist group’s takeover of Palestinian government.
Some of his advisers advised inserting a paragraph on Hamas. They said his firm posture on this issue, a lot more resolute and lucid than the waverings of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, would be an asset – in particular, his adamant opposition to international assistance to any Palestinian government that includes or is controlled by Hamas. This line, they say, would go down well with the American public.
Circles in Washington incidentally criticize Israel’s new foreign mister Tzipi Livni for her “philosophical reflections” in a situation demanding clear-cut course of action.
But there is a counter-argument. Mahmoud Abbas’s conduct is leaving the White House and the national security council guessing. Therefore, say some advisers, it would be more prudent to skip mention of the Hamas problem until a decision can be taken on whether to come out in support of Abbas or not.
As seen in Washington, Abu Mazen is trying to establish himself in a national presidency transcending party politics. This would let him off the hook of playing ball with Hamas. On the other hand, his own Fatah party has been thrown out of power. Its 44 members of the Palestinian legislative council are a minority in opposition. They are an unknown quantity which could turn their backs on him. He may therefore accept Egyptian advice and throw in his lot with Hamas and ditch Fatah. But as long as the case of Abu Mazen is up in the air, some presidential advisers say the Palestinian issue is a hot potato better left out of his important speech to the nation.

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