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PA Says US Recognized Hamas Unity Government

PA source says US has invited newly appointed unity government PM Hamdallah for official visit, claims official recognition of unity gov.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Hamdallah
Hamdallah
Flash 90

An official source in the Palestinian Authority (PA) reportedly said the United States has invited unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who was appointed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, for an official visit to Washington DC.

According to the official, the invitation constitutes an official recognition by the American administration of the unity government between Abbas's Fatah faction and the terrorist group Hamas, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.

The move follows reports by Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, who said Hamas recently held talks with the European Union (EU) and an unofficial American representative. He noted Hamas officials "sensed a change in the American position."

A senior US administration official had said last month that the United States would have to reconsider its assistance to PA if Fatah and Hamas form a government together.

Hamdallah, who currently serves as the PA government's prime minister, has been seen by experts as being largely under Abbas's thumb.

When he was appointed to the post in late April, US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the move, saying "we congratulate Dr Rami Hamdallah, the next prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. His appointment comes at a moment of challenge, which is also an important moment of opportunity."

The formation of the unity government has been held up over the appointment of the foreign minister; Abbas named his current foreign minister Riyad al-Malki for the post, but a source close to Hamas reported that the terrorist organization prefers Ziyad Abu Amer, one of two deputy premiers now serving under Hamdallah.

The unity government in its inclusion of Hamas and Islamic Jihad constitutes a change in the framework of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the group recognized internationally as representing the "Palestinian people," but which has never rejected terrorism.

There has been friction surrounding the forming of the unity government, given that Abbas has said Hamas won't be part of the "independent government," even as Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a "unity" government.