While in public Washington is staying out of Israel's internal affairs, Israeli government officials say that in private President Barack Obama is pushing for a unity government between Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and Tzipi Livni's Kadima parties.
Aides to Netanyahu confirmed to Ha'aretz at the weekend that they had received messages that Obama wants a unity government, and not a right-wing government that would likely stall the land-for-peace process with the Arabs.
Kadima officials denied receiving similar messages.
The European Union was less subtle, with foreign policy chief Javier Solana declaring publicly on Friday that only an Israeli unity government could bring progress in the peace process.
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