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Palestinians may look to Lebanon model for government

Palestinians are pointing to Hezbollah's participation in successive Lebanese governments as a potential model for Hamas' inclusion in a Palestinian unity government.
A demonstrator wears a Palestinian scarf and symbols with pictures of Lebanon's Hezbollah logo (L) and former Hamas Leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as he waits to attend a rally to mark al-Quds (Jerusalem) day in Istanbul September 18, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (TURKEY ANNIVERSARY POLITICS) - RTR2807G

Since the Palestinians have agreed to reconcile and create a national unity government until elections can take place, the debate now focuses on one simple question: Do the conditions imposed on Hamas by the Middle East Quartet apply to any future Palestinian government as a whole or do they apply to every individual member of the government?

After Hamas swept the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, the Quartet — the United States, European Union, the United Nations and Russia — issued three conditions for dealing with any Palestinian government that might be established. It had to recognize Israel, adhere to previously signed treaties and renounce violence. The Islamic movement Hamas has always had a problem with these conditions. It has said it is willing to accept a long-term truce with Israel, but not to recognize Israel or give up the right of resistance, which is guaranteed to people under occupation.

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