"We certainly favor an effective Palestinian government, and we are certainly supportive of a reconciliation process," State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said of national unity talks between Fatah and Hamas being brokered by Egypt.
"That said, we have particular terms, you know, laid out by the Quartet. You know, Palestinian unity must be guided, you know, in support of a government committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations."
The US also said its commitment to the Palestinians "remains strong," as did its objections to Israeli settlement activity, following the publication of a Fatah memo saying hope in President Barack Obama had been lost.
"All hopes placed in the new US administration and President Obama have evaporated," the document said. Obama "couldn't withstand the pressure of the Zionist lobby, which led to a retreat from his previous positions on halting settlement construction and defining an agenda for the negotiations and peace."
"Our commitment to the Palestinian people remains strong," a State Department official responded, adding that American opposition to settlements remained in place: "We continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."
The Fatah memo accused the US of failing to set a clear agenda for a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The State Department official stressed, though, that "our priority remains the resumption of negotiations in an atmosphere conducive to success," and furthermore that "it is past time to talk about starting negotiations - it is time to move forward."
However, along with the circulation of the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, Fatah chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that he wouldn't resume peace talks with Israel before there was a total freeze on settlement activity, including in Jerusalem.
Israel had no formal response to the Fatah memo, or to Abbas's comments on not resuming negotiations without a freeze.