The US, Italy, Britain and France have refused to rule out negotiations with the unity Hamas-Fatah government despite intensive lobbying by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Representatives of the respective governments declined to reject the unity deal between Fatah and Hamas as requested by Netanyahu on his current trip to Britain and France. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton yesterday avoided giving any definite statement on the matter saying that the Obama administration “are going to be carefully assessing what this actually means, because there are a number of different potential meanings to it, both on paper and in practice”.

However Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the US administration’s need for Hamas to renounce violence and recognise Israel as a Jewish state. Similarly France, Italy and Britain have refused to rule out negotiations but echoed Secretary Clinton’s statement that any new government needed to recognise the Jewish character of Israel.

The current trip by the Israeli PM was originally designed as a means of lobbying European allies against supporting a unilateral decleration of statehood by the PA in September. However Netanyahu has instead used it to encourage government leaders to reject the recent Hamas-Fatah reconciliation process.

Questioned as to his opinion of a potential recognition of a Palestinian state based on pre 1967 borders by the United Nations in September, Netanyahu replied “can there be an automatic majority in the UN? The answer is yes. They can say the earth is flat and pass it”.

Talks between Palestinian and Israel representatives broke down last September when Palestinian leaders withdrew due to a resumption of Israeli settlement activity in what would be a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders