US Will Not Tolerate Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation

Written by Hilary Leila Krieger - Jerusalem Post

Prior to his visit to Israel next week, US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has warned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas against seeking a reconciliation with Hamas.

"Dealing with Hamas and being in any coalition with Hamas [without Hamas accepting international demands to stop terrorism and recognize Israel] would be something which we would look on with opposition and suspicion," Hoyer (D-Maryland) told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview Wednesday. He said such a government would be a "setback" and a "cause for concern."

Hoyer was responding to news yesterday that mediators from other Arab countries were attempting to effect a reunion between the two Palestinian groups.

Hoyer also told the Post that the Bush administration should be pursuing diplomatic discussions with Iran more vigorously. He called for "more biting" sanctions against Iran at the United Nations and for Europe to cut its trade with Iran in order to halt the development of a nuclear weapon.

Hoyer also indicated that there are some Democrats in Congress who have reservations about the Saudi arms deal. Hoyer said aid to Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt, had not in the past resulted "in the kind of positive support that I would have hoped for." He was strongly supportive of aid to Israel.

The specifics of the deal, which had originally been expected to be concluded this week, will be the subject of discussions between a delegation of some 20 Democratic members of Congress and Israeli leaders next week.

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