USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

BBC: US ‘ready’ for non-Hamas contacts (in new coalition government)

Posted by uscsjp on March 18, 2007

Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniya

The prime minister, Ismail Haniya (r), remains the same

The United States has decided that it will have contact with some of the new ministers in the Palestinian government which was sworn in on Saturday.

A US consular official in Jerusalem said the US would maintain contact with ministers it feels it can work with.

US officials deny this amounts to a shift in policy, saying they will still not deal with Hamas.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has urged the international community to have nothing to do with the new government.

‘Ending isolation’

It seems the US has decided to subtly change its stance towards the Palestinian government.

That government now contains ministers from a number of parties and not just from the Islamist Hamas movement.

But by stating the US will deal with some ministers, Washington is bringing to an end the political isolation it helped to impose on the Palestinian government.

Other countries, most notably in Europe, have also signalled a similar change in stance.

Israel had hoped to be able to persuade the international community to maintain its boycott of the Palestinian government which Israel deems unacceptable.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said the new government limits Israel’s ability to conduct talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.  (link)


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