The United States must change its policy on the Palestinians, and force Israel to do likewise, Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said Saturday. According to Hamad, the US shouldn't attempt to force Hamas to comply with Quartet conditions for the recognition of its government. In a related development, some Western nations have expressed concern over the US's proposals to arm Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah security forces, the British Times reported.
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Some US officials believe that should attempts to establish a unity government in the PA prove futile, Abbas should be supplied with "deterrent capability" against Hamas.
Specifically, US proposals include doubling the size of Abbas' Force 17 presidential guard and shipping weapons into the Gaza Strip, a move that would have to be approved by Israel. In addition, Fatah officials have requested that over 1,000 exiled members of the PLO's Badr Brigades be allowed back into the PA from Jordan.
Opponents of the US approach feel that the international community had accepted the results of the PA elections in January 2006 that put Hamas in power, and therefore should support efforts to put together a unity government in the strife-ridden PA.
"Everybody wants to support Abbas, but there is a difference of opinion on how best you do it - or how much you are supporting him against Hamas against how much you are supporting him as President, which are not necessarily the same things," the Times quoted an international observer saying.