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Palestinian Fighting


Earlier this month, militia associated with the terrorist group Hamas fought Palestinian police. According to news reports, the fighting began when a Hamas gunman fired at a car carrying members of a Palestinian security service loyal to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah faction. The driver for Jordan's ambassador in Gaza was killed in the crossfire.

In January elections, Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament. The U.S., European Union, United Nations, and Russia – a group known as the Quartet – called on Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and respect previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including the Roadmap. But as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out, the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government "has so far failed to commit itself to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations."

Tom Casey, the State Department's acting spokesman, says the U.S. "condemn[s] all acts of violence regardless of who's perpetrating them":

"We're troubled by this kind of escalation in intra-Palestinian violence and it certainly is having an impact on the lives of the Palestinian people. And they have the right to expect that their leaders will take actions to prevent that violence to provide for their basic security, which is part of the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority."

Mr. Casey says, "It's pretty clear that the Hamas-led government's refusal to renounce terrorism does harm to the interests of the Palestinian people":

"What we're seeing here is just the consequences of a Hamas-led government that fails to do the basic requirements mandated by the international community."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, "Hamas has got to make a choice. If it is going to govern," she says, "it is going to have to govern on internationally acceptable standards and that means to renounce violence and terrorism."

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

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