Mr. Eldar also says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t come under pressure from the US to negotiate with an Abbas-Hamas unity government before America's 2012 elections, because the largely pro-Israel Congress opposes any dealings with Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and the European Union.
Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party had formed a unity government in 2006, after Hamas won elections that year. But they split in 2007, when Fatah was violently ousted from the Gaza Strip. Since then, Hamas has ruled Gaza, while the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has run the West Bank.
Anticipation of a breakthrough on the Fatah-Hamas impasse has been stoked in part by a scheduled meeting between the president and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo next week. The two haven’t met since last May, when Fatah signed a unity deal with Hamas.