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In the short term, however, Netanyahu may have a tough time isolating Abbas.
Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben Gurion University, said it was likely that the European Union and possibly the U.S. would recognize the new Palestinian government.
"The minute the world will recognize this government, that means not only unity between Hamas and Fatah, but also unity of the Palestinian land between the West Bank and Gaza," he said.
Nevertheless, he said the Hamas-backed government plays into Netanyahu’s hands, giving him and his hard-line coalition an excuse to argue that there is no peace partner on the Palestinian side — even at the expense of butting heads with world leaders.
"His political interests are very clear: To survive as prime minister, to maintain the current government, the current coalition, and he doesn’t believe in any breakthroughs with the Palestinians," Meital said.
Associated Press writers Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.
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