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Palestinian govt. without Hamas a partner - Israel PM

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Israel's premier has said a new Palestinian government without the radical Islamic movement Hamas is a partner, which raises hopes for further peace talks.
TELAVIV/GAZA, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - Israel's premier has said a new Palestinian government without the radical Islamic movement Hamas is a partner, which raises hopes for further peace talks.

Hamas, which won parliamentary elections early last year, has refused to recognize the state of Israel, which deprived impoverished Palestinian territories of Western financial aid.

"We now have an opportunity that was not in place for a long time," Israel's Ehud Olmert said ahead of his three-day visit to the United States. "A government without Hamas is a partner."

Following a week of armed clashes between the pro-presidential Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has dissolved the coalition Cabinet led by Hamas's Ismail Haniya and instructed pro-Western Fatah member Salam Fayyad, formerly a finance minister, to form a new emergency government.

Hamas has refused to recognize Abbas's orders, saying a new government requires approval of the parliament dominated by Hamas, which won elections early last year.

About 100 have died in violence that rocked Palestinian territories last week, which ended up with Hamas seizing control over Gaza and the president's headquarters in the area. The West Bank, a more expansive territory, remains in the hands of Fatah.

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