Gaza City (CNN)-- The politically divided Palestinian territories took a major step toward reconciliation Wednesday when the rival movements of Hamas and Fatah announced a deal to form a unity government, officials from both groups said.
The move comes amid international efforts for statehood advanced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. It could portend unity in the fractious Palestinian territories.
The two political factions have been close to civil war, culminating in 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip after deadly fighting with Fatah partisans. Fatah retained control of the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank.
On Wednesday, U.S. officials continued to express concerns about Hamas.
"We have seen the press reports and are seeking more information," said Tommy Vietor, National Security Council spokesman.
"As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace," Vietor said. "Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians. To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements and recognize Israel's right to exist."Oh, Tommy, that quartet stuff is soooo 2008. No need to renounce violence or recognize Israel's right to exist when you can take a detour past the roadmap right into statehood.