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US optimistic about Mideast peace deal

The US administration will soon publish guidelines for restarting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

A surprising disagreement seems to be emerging between the United States and Israel over the interpretation of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. Israel reacted in an almost-Pavlovian way, halting most of its contacts with the Palestinian Authority government, except for urgent security and humanitarian issues. The United States, on the other hand, both on the level of the White House and the level of the State Department, continued its ongoing dialogue with Ramallah. US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt is leading these contacts together with US Ambassador in Tel Aviv David Friedman and the US consul general team in Jerusalem. The motto of the US administration seems to be “give the reconciliation agreement a chance.”

According to a senior US diplomat, the administration conveyed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that it will not intervene against the new Palestinian agreement and that it demands the disarming of Hamas, yet not overnight. The US diplomat does not rule out that once the dust has settled between the two rival Palestinian factions, Washington might outline guidelines for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians (without Hamas being included).

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