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Rice On Hamas

Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, says that Hamas should recognize Israel. The United Nations, the U.S., and the European Union have also asked Hamas to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism.

For years, Hamas has sought the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a radical Islamic state. Hamas is responsible for dozens of suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of people in Israel. It won a majority of seats in Palestinian parliamentary elections and is expected to form a new government.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Egypt, where she discussed Hamas with Ali Aboul Gheit, Egypt's foreign minister. Mr. Gheit predicted Hamas will change:

"I'm sure Hamas will develop, will evolve. . . . We are sure that the Palestinians will recognize the requirements of the situation as they stand today: the roadmap, the need for a political peaceful settlement amongst the Israelis and the Palestinians. They need to see the two states living side by side in secure and recognized boundaries for both."

Secretary of State Rice said that there is "remarkable agreement" on steps the Palestinian Authority should take:

"If the new Palestinian government, led by Hamas, is going to be able to meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a peaceful life, for a better life, for a life [in] which there is economic development, it goes without saying that you cannot have one foot in the camp of terror and the other foot in the camp of politics. You have to renounce violence. You have to be willing to live up to the obligations that Palestinians have taken over the last more than a decade for a cooperative relationship with Israel, and a commitment to peace."

Whether Hamas will choose the path of peace remains uncertain. Doing so will require it to act in the interests of Palestinians. And as Secretary of State Rice said, "There are Palestinian people whose lives . . . are in the balance."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.