(Reuters) - Hamas militants have shot dead four Israeli settlers in an attack that cast a shadow over Middle East negotiations convening in Washington on Wednesday.
The violence was condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who were due to dine with U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of face-to-face negotiations. Both leaders are struggling to contain hardliners opposed to a settlement.
Following are some of the possible implications of the attack.
Netanyahu, on landing in Washington on Tuesday, quickly pledged a "no compromise" stance on Israeli security. He will now be even less likely to meet Palestinian demands to offer a further freeze in Jewish settlement-building in occupied land in the West Bank, where the attack took place.
Far-right cabinet ministers have told Netanyahu they will not back any extension of a settlement-building freeze that expires on September 26.
Within hours of Tuesday's attack, Jewish settlers were demanding Netanyahu call off the talks, and threatening to resume expanding their illegal enclaves in occupied territory as soon as Wednesday, in defiance of his partial freeze.
PALESTINIAN SECURITY CONTROL
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad swiftly vowed to take steps to try to prevent militants from striking again against Israelis, but may now face a more intense campaign by Hamas militants who had held their fire after a punishing war with Israel last year.
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ad nauseam.