(JNS.org) The United States intends to work with the new Palestinian unity government formed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the terrorist group Hamas, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said.
“We will be judging this government by its actions. Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government, but we’ll be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said earlier this week.
Psaki was alluding to the Middle East Quartet principles that include recognizing Israel, rejecting terror, and honoring previously signed agreements, conditions Abbas said the new unity government would adhere to, despite the inclusion of Hamas.
On Wednesday, Israel's Housing Ministry announced that it was advancing plans for 1,500 new housing units in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem in response to the new unity government. Housing Minister Uri Ariel said in a statement Thursday that the move was a "fitting Zionist response to the formation of a Palestinian terror government," reported Israel Hayom.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “deeply troubled” by the U.S. decision to work with the new unity government.
“All those who genuinely seek peace must reject President Abbas’s embrace of Hamas, and most especially, I think the United States must make it absolutely clear to the Palestinian president that his pact with Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s liquidation, is simply unacceptable,” Netanyahu said, the Associated Press reported.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday defended the U.S. position on the unity government, saying that America "will work with it as... is appropriate." He noted that the new government "does not include any ministers who are affiliated with Hamas."
On June 8, Palestinian Media Watch reported that former Hamas government spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein posted on Facebook that in private meetings with Hamas, Abbas said, “When I go out [publicly] and say that the [PA] government is my government and it recognizes ‘Israel’ and so on, fine—these words are meant to trick the Americans.”