White House Seems Ready to Let Hamas Seize Gaza

WASHINGTON, June 14 — Bush administration officials said Thursday that they had been discussing the idea of largely acquiescing in the takeover of Gaza by the militant Islamic group Hamas and trying instead to help the Fatah party of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, retain its stronghold in the West Bank.

The United States had quietly encouraged Mr. Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian government and dismiss Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, steps that Mr. Abbas announced Thursday, administration officials said. Before the announcement, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Mr. Abbas to reiterate American support for the move, they said.

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