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Israel considers repercussions of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni speaks in Jerusalem on April 28, 2011.

Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

Israel's seven-person security cabinet is meeting now, at midday, to discuss the possible repercussions of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and of a Palestinian nation-unity government.

Israelis' greatest fear is that such a government would open the door to Hamas militants, armed by Iran, deploying in the West Bank, the territory now governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas.

Indeed the resolution of which party's security forces are deployed where, remains a giant hurdle for Fatah and Hamas to overcome. Both sides' security forces have made it clear they want no truck with the other's forces on their turf.

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This suggests that a real reconciliation between the two may be long way away.

In any event, Mr. Abbas is not about to take a Palestinian government into the arms of Iran. He's not saying this out loud, because he is enjoying the moment of Israel feeling vulnerable, and hopes to use it as to gain an acceptance of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, whose Kadima party garnered more votes than Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, told foreign journalists this morning that Hamas should not be allowed to participate in a government or to run in any election unless it accepted the parameters set out by the international community. These include renouncing violence, accepting Israel and accepting agreements entered into by the PA, such as the Oslo Accord.

Ms. Livni blamed the Netanyahu government's refusal to negotiate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for driving Mr. Abbas to take this unilateral action. She called it "an historical mistake" to do nothing while the region is going through upheaval.

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