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Will Netanyahu recognize new Palestinian government?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will be challenged if the new Palestinian unity government accepts the Quartet’s conditions and receives international backing.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) stands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before their meeting in Jerusalem September 15, 2010. Clinton warmly endorsed Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Wednesday ahead of negotiations to try to break a deadlock over Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank. REUTERS/Lior Mizrahi/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2IDB7
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The prevailing estimate in diplomatic and international circles is that the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians — having gone through lengthy and glorious death throes — has “kicked the bucket” and was given a state funeral to much fanfare. And the best proof of that is what US President Barack Obama said on May 28 — or more precisely, did not say — in his most recent speech at West Point. Defined a priori as an address about “diplomacy,” it set out to broach the president’s foreign policy (which has not seen remarkable success to date). Surprisingly enough, however, Obama made no mention at all of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; not even in as much as a short, vague paragraph, if only to go through the motions. It was as if the Middle East never existed.

But here’s the point. We are still here, as are the Palestinians and the common problems. Israel believes that the diplomatic topic will re-emerge over the coming weeks out of the blue, making its umpteenth comeback. If the formation of a Palestinian national unity government is indeed announced within a few days (following its postponement on May 29), it will consist of technocrats headed by Fatah. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will serve as its most authoritative figure. But most importantly, Israel’s intelligence services as well as the Foreign Ministry’s research department estimate that this government will accept the Quartet’s three conditions (that Hamas recognize Israel, accept past agreements between Israel and the PLO and renounce the armed struggle.)

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