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Washington (AFP) – The United States on Wednesday warned that a deal to form a Palestinian unity government could seriously hamper its efforts to forge a peace deal with Israel.

Any Palestinian government must commit “unambiguously” to the principles of non-violence and to the existence of Israel, said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, restating a long-held U.S. position.

“Absent a clear commitment to those principles, this could seriously complicate our efforts to extend the negotiations,” she told reporters. “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

Washington was both “disappointed” and “troubled” by Wednesday’s announcement of a rapprochement between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) — internationally recognized as the sole representative of the Palestinian people — and the Islamist Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, she added.

AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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