White House sends message to Hamas
Photo: AP
Fayyad resigns 'for peace'
Photo: AP
US expects Palestinians to continue peace talks
White House says that in spite of Prime Minister Fayyad's resignation, it wants to see progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. US still committed to achieving two-state solution, adds National Security Council spokesman

WASHINGTON - A White House spokesman said Saturday night it expected to see continued progress in Arab-Israeli peace despite Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's resignation.


"This government made great strides in providing the transparency, accountability and security that will be essential to achieving a two-state solution," said White House National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.


"We expect any future Palestinian government to continue this progress, in line with the Quartet principles and consistent with President Abbas' vision," Hammer said, referring to the quartet of Middle East mediators: The United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.


Hammer added that the US was still committed to achieving a solution of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.


Fayyad, who is considered the Palestinian Authority official who is closest to the Americans, is the only one who the American government trusts and is ready to transfer funds through.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Fayyad on Wednesday in Ramallah, and it is unclear whether she received any signals on his plan to resign at the end of the month.


Reality not in favor of 2-state solution

Fayyad said he would resign in order to allow the formation of a Fatah and Hamas unity government, but the Quartet principles oblige Hamas to recognize Israel and the agreements signed with the Jewish state, and to renounce terror.


However, despite the public statements on the two-state vision, Clinton's Mideast tour has made it clear to her that the reality on the ground is not in favor of this vision, both because of what is happening in Gaza and because of the Right's victory in the Israeli elections.


The Obama administration is looking for pragmatic solutions, but at the moment it has no answers for the problems on the ground. The Americans are interested in working to calm things down in the Gaza Strip and reopen the crossings.


The American desire to work to reopen the crossings is derived, among other things, from the estimation that Hamas is the main element profiting from the black economy of the smuggling and that it would be better to open the crossings and control them.


But despite the public support for a Palestinian unity government, the Obama administration opposes a government which would include Hamas, as opposed to European elements that are willing to turn a blind eye and enable the creation of a technocrat government with Hamas men.


Reuters contributed to this report


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