Israel wants to negotiate—but can Hamas be a partner in peace?
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Here are 48 hours from life in the Middle East. Late on April 22, a week before the deadline for the U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians that had been taking place for nine months, negotiators from the two sides and the American mediators gathered for a meeting. The atmosphere was excellent. New solutions were proposed for old problems and the word breakthrough was mentioned more than once. The goal was a clear and mutual one: to reach an agreement that would extend the negotiations and move them to an even more senior level.
The optimism was replaced with shock when, on the morning of April 23, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, announced a reconciliation deal between the two main Palestinian factions of Fatah, which runs the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.