A day after the main Palestinian factions signed a unity agreement in Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton strikingly refused on Thursday to rule out further negotiations with a Palestinian side that includes Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs Gaza and is defined by many in the West as a terrorist organization. But she reiterated the Obama administration’s call for Hamas to accept basic conditions that included renouncing violence and recognizing Israel’s right to exist.
Speaking of the unity pact, Mrs. Clinton said there were “many steps that have yet to be undertaken in order to implement the agreement” when asked if it closed the door on negotiations for an Israeli-Palestinian peace for the foreseeable future. “And we 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.”
In an interview with the weekly L’Express magazine, President Sarkozy urged Mr. Netanyahu to “take the risk of peace.”
“In all my political life I have been a friend of Israel,” Mr. Sarkozy said. “But there will be no security for Israel without a viable, democratic and modern Palestinian state.”
Turning to the question of a possible declaration of Palestinian statehood in September, Mr. Sarkozy said that, if peace talks did not resume over the summer, “France will assume its responsibilities on the central question of recognizing the Palestinian state.”