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.
Credit: Reuters/Gali Tibbon/Pool
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.
Abbas told Kerry “the coming government will be formed of independents and will represent [+] Read more…