Netanyahu urges world not to recognise Palestinian unity government

JERUSALEM Sun Jun 1, 2014 3:45pm EDT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special cabinet meeting marking Jerusalem Day at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special cabinet meeting marking Jerusalem Day at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem May 28, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Gali Tibbon/Pool

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned against any international rush to recognise a Palestinian government due to be announced under a unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Islamist groups.

Israel and the West classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation and have no official dealings with the movement, which advocates the destruction of the Jewish state.

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas in April, said a unity government due to be announced on Monday would be comprised of ministers without political affiliation, a status that could ease the way for Western engagement.

"I call on all responsible elements in the international community not to rush to recognise 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 Islamist group, told his cabinet.

"Hamas is a terrorist organisation 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 in public remarks at the cabinet meeting.

Israel froze U.S.-brokered peace talks with Abbas when the unity deal was announced on April 23 after numerous unsuccessful attempts at Palestinian reconciliation since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in fighting in 2007.

In a call to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday, Abbas cast the intra-Palestinian moves as a domestic matter that should not affect wider diplomacy with Israel and the West.

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Abbas told Kerry "the coming government will be formed of independents and will represent the political agenda of the president," the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

Kerry had overseen the peace talks that stalled in April.

Abbas said on Saturday that Israel "informed us ... they would boycott us if we announced the government". Netanyahu, in his brief statement on Sunday, made no reference to any Israeli sanctions.

Israel has withheld tax revenues from Abbas's aid-dependent Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, in retaliation for his signing in April of international conventions and treaties after Israel reneged on a promised release of Palestinian prisoners.

On Saturday, 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 the occupied West Bank.

Abbas has said a joint government with Hamas would continue to abide by his policy of recognising Israel, though the Islamist group insists it would not change its own policy of rejecting Israel's existence.

He has been keen to assure Western donor countries he will remain the key Palestinian decision-maker and that security coordination between his forces and Israel will continue.

Both Fatah and Hamas see benefits to a unity pact, though disagreements have blocked them from achieving such a government for years.

With a strict blockade imposed by neighbours Israel and Egypt, Hamas has been struggling to prop up Gaza's economy and pay its 40,000 employees. Abbas, for his part, wants to shore up his domestic support since the peace talks with Israel collapsed.

(Editing by Andrew Roche and Marguerita Choy)

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Comments (35)
MonitorLizard wrote:
I am part of the world, Mr. Netanyahu, and I am all for the Palestinians choosing their own destiny. So, keep whining or better yet, put the US deeper into your hip pocket.

Jun 01, 2014 8:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
VultureTX wrote:
@monitorLizard
Good for you supporting Palestinians right to die. Since Palestinians first chose their destiny at Hebron in 1929 all the way to choosing their fate in 1948 during the exodus; Palestinians have chosen not to co-exist with the Jews. As opposed to the million+ arabs who are Israeli citizens who did choose to co-exist.

So by supporting these “drives the jews into the sea” groups like Hamas you are openly supporting those calling for genocide. Luckily for the West, like most arabs they suck at war and will suffer massive casualties for their next inevitable attack on Israel. And now we get to send them up for War Crimes, thanks to those treaties Abbas signed.

/thanks for coming out… again.

Jun 01, 2014 8:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Earthtourist wrote:
Daniel Barenboim for Prime Minister of Israel. Peace for the entire region. Honest and brave people to the fore!

Jun 01, 2014 9:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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