Fatah/Hamas pact welcomed

It’s good to see the

NZ Herald

, the



former US President Jimmy Carter

all coming out today in support of Fatah/Hamas agreement for a Palestinian unity government.

The Herald rightly says that “Palestinian unity should be regarded as an opportunity, not an obstacle”, noting that Hamas “was elected and continues to enjoy the support of many Palestinians.” Unity will help Palestinians press Israel to accept a just settlement and a separate Palestinian state.

Our government should be putting pressure on Israel to accept this new reality and negotiate with the new government, and not

withhold the tax money

it collects on behalf of the Palestinian authorities.

Israel will use every excuse in the book to avoid sitting down with a combined Fatah/Hamas delegation. The hoariest one is that Hamas “doesn’t recognise Israel’s right to exist”, which is a bit odd given that Israel won’t support a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, in defiance of UN resolutions. Hamas has long been willing to negotiate with the government of Israel as the de facto government of the state. And that’s all you need to get talks going.