Olmert: US, Israel may not accept new Palestinian unity cabinet
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that the U.S. and Israel are in total accord on shunning any Palestinian government that does not meet international demands to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing peace accords.
According to the AP, Olmert said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting that he and President Bush had spoken by phone on Friday about a Palestinian power-sharing accord whose platform falls short of meeting those demands, posed by the Quartet of Mideast negotiators.
"A Palestinian government that won't accept the Quartet conditions won't receive recognition and cooperation," Olmert said. "The American and Israeli positions are totally identical on this issue."
The comments come ahead of a three-way meeting with the Palestinians on Monday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are to get together Monday.
After meeting in Jerusalem on Saturday, Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reiterated their demands that any Palestinian government follow the international line. Livni said the Fatah-Hamas agreement reached earlier in the month in the Saudi city of Mecca does "not meet the requirements" of the international community.
Rice said the United States would not judge the new Palestinian government until it has been established. "We are between the announcement of the intention to form a government and the actual formation of that government," Rice said. "Despite the complications it's an important time to have these discussions."