U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas by phone on Sunday, and “expressed concern” about the Fatah-Hamas unity government which will be sworn in on Monday, reports Israel National News.
The U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organisation, as do others including the European Union, Jordan and Egypt. Yet, the Obama administration would not commit to a position on recognition of a PA government that includes Hamas, only stating that it would not “immediately” recognise the PA unity government.
According to U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, Kerry “expressed concern about Hamas’s role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements with it.”
Psaki reported that “President Abbas assured the secretary that the new government would be committed to these principles.”
Abbas added that the unity government with the terrorist group Hamas is an internal “Palestinian process” that wouldn’t affect contact with Israel or diplomatic relations with the US.
Abbas reportedly told Kerry that “the new government will include independent representatives, and will be subservient to my agenda.”
Hamas, however, has been singing a different tune. In several statements last week, it reconfirmed its commitment to jihad to destroy Israel, refused to be part of coordinated security arrangements with Israel, and insisted that its own military wing will not be disarmed.
An anonymous American official said Sunday night that “the United States informed Israel that it will not support the unity government immediately after it is sworn in.”
The statement of at least temporary opposition comes after an official source in the PA reported last Friday that the US invited unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah for an official visit to Washington DC, in a move the official claimed constituted recognition of the unity government.
A senior American official denied that such an invitation had been made.
The new unity government is scheduled to be sworn in on Monday afternoon, in Ramallah.