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Blair: Palestinians must recognize Israel

- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

JERUSALEM — Mideast envoy Tony Blair says the international community supports Palestinian reconciliation but will demand that the new unity government recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence.

Wednesday's announcement could signal trouble for the new alliance between the Islamic militant group Hamas and the Western-backed Fatah movement. Hamas says it will never recognize Israel.

Blair represents the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the U.S., the EU, U.N. and Russia. He told The Associated Press the Quartet wants to see who is chosen Palestinian prime minister before passing judgment, but Hamas must have "a change of heart" for the government to succeed.

Similar Quartet demands four years ago led to the collapse of a previous unity government.

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