Disagreements among Israelis and Palestinians over the scope and goal of next week’s summit meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are leaving its prospects in doubt.
Israel’s prime minister, defence minister and foreign minister met last night to discuss the summit, Army Radio reported.
Israel will not talk about issues of substance until it learns more about the power-sharing deal between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamic militant Hamas, said government spokeswoman Miri Eisin.
The Palestinian government agreement falls short of international demands that a new Palestinian government, a coalition of Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah movement, explicitly recognise Israel’s right to exist.
Abbas has been trying to market the vaguely worded deal reached last week as the only way to co-opt Hamas, end deadly Palestinian infighting and renew peace talks with Israel.
International reaction has been vague, and the summit would be the clearest test yet of the Israeli and US positions.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, based in Syria, wrote yesterday that the unity government would support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.