Netanyahu Warns Against Recognizing Palestinian Unity Government

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters/Hamodia) -

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned against any international rush to recognize a joint Fatah-Hamas government due to be announced on Monday.

Palestinian Authority  President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas in April, said the government would be comprised of ministers without political affiliation, a status aimed at assuaging Western objections to the participation of avowed Hamas terrorists.

“I call on all responsible elements in the international community not to rush to recognize a Palestinian government which has Hamas as part of it and which is dependent on Hamas,” Netanyahu, who has said such an administration would be a front for the terrorist group, told his cabinet on Sunday.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction, and the international community must not embrace it. That would not bolster peace, it would strengthen terror,” Netanyahu said.

Azzam al-Ahmad, an aide to Abbas, said the U.S. has invited to Washington Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who is to lead the new government, a gesture that could signal an American willingness to cooperate with the new government.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied the claim.

“We’ll not make decisions until we see the final formation of the interim government and have the opportunity to assess and make a determination about whether this is a government we can work with,” she said.

A Palestinian official said Israel had denied requests by three Gaza-based Palestinians expected to be named as ministers to attend the new government’s swearing-in ceremony in Ramallah.

In addition, an Israeli official warned that there are “legal” and “political” implications for nations that cooperation with a government that has a terrorist organization as one of its members, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“Hamas is a officially designated a terrorist organization across the planet,” the Israeli official said. The European Union, Great Britain, and Japan have all declared that Hamas is a terrorist organization, he said.

“People should think very carefully about what kind of relationship they want from this government.” It could, for example, make it difficult to transfer money.

Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, but no details of their conversation were made public.