Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may hold off on the formation of a unity government with the Islamic militant group Hamas to avoid alienating his Western allies ahead of a UN vote on statehood, a senior PLO official said Thursday.
Palestinian leaders had apparently underestimated international opposition, particularly from the U.S., to any Hamas involvement in the government and are afraid that it will derail efforts to win the UN nod in September to establish a Palestinian state.
...The Palestinian president does not want to wage two diplomatic battles for recognition of an alliance with the Islamic militants and for a U.N. nod to statehood at the same time, according to the PLO official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue.
Hamas officials responded to the report on Thursday, saying they had not received a formal request to put off talks on the formation of a unity government. Another serious point of contention is the naming of a prime minister; Hamas has rejected the possibility of Fatah’s Salam Fayyad for premiership, while Fatah has refused to back down on the matter.