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After all, the United States would not allow Hamas to open a diplomatic mission here. And not only would Hamas be partnering in the new unity government with Fatah, the dominant force in the PLO, but reports indicate that the terrorist group would officially become part of the PLO.

Also on the table would be limiting the movements of the New York-based Palestinian mission to the United Nations, subjecting its officials to restrictions applied to delegations from other state sponsors of terror, such as Iran.

Should the unity government fail to materialize or dissolve quickly after formation, there could be lingering political damage for Mr. AbbasFatah party. Republicans likely will be less willing to spare Palestinian assistance from proposed spending cuts, so even USAID funding could take a substantial hit, with or without a unity government.

Worse for Mr. Abbas, Fatah’s identity as “moderate” will no doubt suffer among those who have been supportive. A Democratic Hill staffer who expressed surprise at the possibility of a unity government asked a question many others are probably asking: “We’re always focusing on Hamas, but if Fatah keeps rejoining Hamas in ‘unity,’ how different is Fatah from the group we all recognize are terrorists?”

Joel Mowbray is an adjunct fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.