The Obama Administration is reportedly looking into ways of funding a Palestinian government that also includes representatives of Hamas.

This, despite the fact that the Islamist movement continues to stick to its radical ideology and reiterates its refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist and all the agreements that were signed between the Palestinians and Israelis since 1993.

Ever since Hamas came to power as a result of the January 2006 parliamentary election, it has repeatedly rejected the conditions of the Quartet for dealing with its government, namely that it recognize Israel, abandon terrorism and accept previous agreements with the Jewish state.

Attempts by the Egyptians and other Arab countries over the past three years to convince Hamas to soften its position have fallen on deaf ears.

In late April, talks between Hamas and Fatah negotiators (in Cairo) over the formation of a Palestinian "unity" government failed after it became evident that the Islamist movement remained unwilling to make the slightest concession.

According to Fatah representatives, the Hamas negotiators made it clear during the "conciliation" talks that they would never recognize Israel's right to exist or the Oslo Accords and other agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians. Moreover, the Hamas team emphasized their movement's "right" to continue "resistance operations" (including rocket attacks and suicide bombings, of course) against Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas and Hosni Mubarak are reported to be extremely angry with Hamas for refusing to sit in a Palestinian government that recognizes Israel and is willing to renounce terrorism.

Mubarak, according to reports in the Arab media, has even banned several top Hamas leaders from entering Egypt, holding them responsible for the failure of the talks with Fatah.
Abbas, on the other hand, is now considering the possibility of unilaterally forming a new government that would not include members of Hamas.

But in Cairo and Ramallah there is deep concern over what is perceived as the new US policy of "appeasement" toward Hamas.

The news about the Obama Administration's readiness to unconditionally channel funds to a government that consists of Hamas officials is regarded by Mubarak and Abbas as a severe blow to their efforts to convince Hamas to change.

"Hamas should be weakened, not strengthened," said a senior aide to Abbas. "Hamas is not going to relinquish its radical policies as long as it feels that the Americans and Europeans are prepared to deal with it without demanding anything in return."

An Egyptian diplomat expressed fear that Washington's new conciliatory approach toward Hamas and other extremists in the Arab and Islamic world will only undermine the moderates who already feel threatened by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

Funding a government that consists of Hamas ministers means, in many ways, that the money will eventually end up in the hands of those who are planning rocket and suicide attacks. If Hamas is permitted to join any government without meeting the conditions of the international community, it will be seen by many Arabs and Muslims as a victory for violence. And such a move will only invite more terrorism.

Appeasing Hamas means appeasing Osama bin Laden and the enemies of all the moderate Arabs and Muslims, as well as modern civilization. The terrorists will change, if at all, only once they realize that they are increasingly being isolated and have no chance of prevailing.

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