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Don’t forget about Israel/Palestine

While Americans and the rest of the world embrace the death of Osama bin Laden as the second bookend to 9/11, an important development in the region has been largely neglected by the mass media.  Over the past week, Haaretz and Al-Jazeera have consistently reported  on the recent reconciliation between the leaders of Hamas and Fatah.  After meeting in Cairo last week, representatives of 13 Palestinian factions–including Mahmoud Abbas and his Hamas rivals–signed a deal to pave the way for elections in the coming year.

The deal was immediately criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the grounds that Hamas supports the destruction of Israel:

I call on Abu Mazen (Abbas) to completely cancel the agreement with Hamas and to choose the path to peace with Israel

-Benjamin Netanhyahu

Israeli diplomats, on the other hand, embrace the agreement as a strategic opportunity for Israel.  Israel has faced increased scrutiny from Washington, while Britain and France have hinted at recognizing Palestinian statehood in September.  Israel’s support for the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation may be in its best security interests.  Such a move would not only appeal to U.S. and European calls for Israel to seize every opportunity in the peace process, but would certainly ease current diplomatic tensions between Israel and its steadfast allies.  Netanyahu meets with British PM David Cameron today, and travels to talk with his French counterpart tomorrow.  The reconciliation agreement and budding international support for recognizing Palestinian sovereignty will no doubt make for interesting conversation.

What do you think?

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