Abbas to Push Palestinian Unity Government to Accept Quartet Demands

Obama has stressed that recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel as Hamas does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Sources close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he will seek to form a government of technocrats by mid-June which will accept the demands of the Quartet, including recognition of Israel.

The sources said that Abbas also appears determined to see Salam Fayyad appointed as prime minister on the unity government, despite widespread objection, as he believes that without Fayyad, the international criticism he has received because of the reconciliation agreement with Hamas cannot be countered.

Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad AP 10.9.2010

The sources believe that Hamas will ultimately agree to the appointment.

United States President Barack Obama has reiterated that the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel.

In his Middle East speech last week, Obama said that "Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist."

In his speech, Obama urged Israelis and Palestinians to renew peace talks, but stressed that the Palestinians' efforts to delegitimize Israel will fail, and rejected the Palestinian initiative to attain recognition in the United Nations.

Abbas welcomed Obama's efforts to renew talks with Israel that collapsed last year but said on Wednesday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Israel was offering "nothing we can build on" for peace and that without progress he would push for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood in September.