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Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will tell US President George W. Bush on Wednesday that the proposed Palestinian unity government will recognize Israel's right to exist and previous agreements between the PLO and Israel," PA officials told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Thousands of Hamas supporters took to the streets of Gaza City on Tuesday calling on Abbas not to succumb to American "dictates" regarding the unity government and to work toward resolving the financial crisis in the PA.
"President Abbas will make it clear that the political program of the unity government will clearly refer to the Arab peace plan that was declared in 2002 and which is based on a two-state solution," said one official. "He will also tell Bush that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh promised that the unity government would honor all the agreements that were signed with Israel." The officials expressed hope that the US administration would change its negative position regarding the unity government following the planned meeting between Bush and Abbas.
"If the US wants to strengthen President Abbas, it must accept the unity government idea because there is no other alternative," another PA official told the Post. "I don't think the Palestinian public will accept a coup against a democratically elected government."
The official confirmed reports in the Arab media that Washington had threatened to boycott Abbas and his Fatah party if they went ahead with plans to join the Hamas-led government. "The US apparently doesn't understand that a national unity government with Hamas is the best solution to the current crisis in the Palestinian Authority," he added.
Abbas's meeting with Bush comes amid increased tensions between Fatah and Hamas supporters that are threatening to thwart Abbas's efforts to establish a unity government.
Hamas leaders accused Abbas and his Fatah party of inciting PA civil servants against the Hamas-led government. On Monday, hundreds of civil servants prevented Haniyeh and his aides from entering the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City. In response, the PLC decided to suspend its sessions until further notice.
Tensions have also been running high between the two parties since last Friday's assassination of General Jad Tayeh, a senior General Intelligence Service officer, outside the home of Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp. Tayeh and four of his aides were killed in an ambush set by a group of masked gunmen.
Hamas officials said the assassination was part of settling accounts between rival PA security branches in the Gaza Strip. Fatah, on the other hand, claimed that Tayeh was assassinated by Hamas members because of his role in uncovering the smuggling of weapons to Jordan on the part of Hamas.