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US, Israel react to Fatah-Hamas unity government

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Mahmoud Abbas, left; Benjamin Netanyahu, right.US reacts

The US plans to work with the new Palestinian unity government and will continue to disburse aid to the PA, the State Department said.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday, June 2, that the US “will be watching closely to ensure that [the Hamas-Fatah government] upholds principles that President [Mahmoud] Abbas reiterated today,” according to Haaretz.

The principles include recognizing Israel, rejecting terror and honoring agreements.

The new government was sworn in Monday in Ramallah. Earlier that day, Israel’s Security Cabinet said it will not negotiate with the new government and will oppose Hamas participation in the Palestinian elections if and when they take place. The Security Cabinet also said it will hold the new government responsible for any rockets fired at Israel from Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel would not allow the new unity government to hold any elections in eastern Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reported.

Read related IJN editorial, "Israel: The sky is not falling"

Abbas criticized Israel’s refusal to recognize the new government and said Palestinians would continue efforts to declare statehood, something that was put on hold during peace talks with Israel.

“We won’t stand with our hands folded in the face of punitive measures, and we will use every legal and diplomatic tool at our disposal in the international community,” he said, according to Haaretz.

Israel reacts

Israel’s Security Cabinet unanimously decided not to negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes the terrorist organization Hamas.

The Security Cabinet met Monday, June 2, following the swearing-in of the Palestinian unity government.

“Today, Abu Mazen said yes to terrorism and no to peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

“This is the direct continuation of Abu Mazen’s policy of refusing peace.

“While Israel has carried out courageous and painful steps on behalf of the diplomatic process and continues to be committed to peace, Abu Mazen has refused to extend the negotiations, has rejected the American framework document, continues to incite against Israel, has unilaterally acceded to UN treaties and has now forged a pact with the Hamas terrorist organization.”

The Security Cabinet also authorized Netanyahu to impose additional sanctions on the PA, though it did not publicly disclose what the sanctions might be.

The statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office said the Security Cabinet voted “to form a team to consider ways of action given the new reality that has been created and ahead of diplomatic and security situations that will be created in the future” and “to act, including in the international arena, against the participation of terrorist organizations in elections.”

The Security Cabinet said it would “hold the PA responsible for all actions that harm the security of Israel which originate in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.”

Israel formally suspended peace negotiations with the Palestinians shortly after Abbas launched unity talks with Hamas. Netanyahu also criticized European acceptance of a Palestinian unity government just hours before its new ministers were sworn in.

“It is surprising for me that European governments, which vehemently condemned the Brussels shooting, talk collegially or even in a friendly tone about the Palestinian unity government with Hamas,” Netanyahu said Monday, June 2, at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “This is a terrorist organization which undertakes criminal attacks and boasts about them.”

Last Updated ( Friday, 06 June 2014 11:02 )  

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