Hamas won't join planned coalition government

The Palestinians' ruling Hamas group will not join a planned coalition government if recognizing Israel is a condition, a close aide to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Friday.

At the United Nations on Thursday, the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said the planned national unity government between his Fatah Party and Hamas would recognize the Jewish state.

But Haniyeh's political adviser, Ahmed Yousef, told The Associated Press on Friday that "there won't be a national unity government if Hamas is asked to recognize Israel."

The two parties announced last week that they would team up to govern, in an effort to ease crushing international sanctions imposed on the Hamas government to pressure it to soften its violent anti-Israel ideology.

Their preliminary agreement says the new government would strive to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel implying recognition of the Jewish state.

But coalition talks have faltered because the West and Israel want Hamas to clearly state its willingness to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

Yousef said instead of recognizing Israel, Hamas was prepared to agree to a "long-term truce for five or 10 years, until the occupation withdraws." He was unclear on what Hamas would do if coalition talks break down.