US Secretary of State John Kerry last Thursday said Israel’s negative response to the formation of a Palestinian unity government including the Hamas terrorist organization was “appropriate.”
In an interview with PBS, Kerry said that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas can claim he’s ready to restart peace talks all he wants, “but he has certain conditions that have to be met.”
One of those conditions is demonstrating that the Palestinian leadership accepts the legitimacy of Israel’s existence, and will no longer attempt to destroy the Jewish state.
But, in joining with Hamas and failing to require the terror group to recant its anti-Israel charter, Abbas has done the opposite.
“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and Israel are waiting to see what happens with the Hamas reconciliation… That’s an appropriate thing to be doing. We’re all waiting to see what happens,” said Kerry.
Abbas was expected to officially announce the new unity government on Monday. Days prior, senior Palestinian officials told both Israeli and Palestinian media that America had acknowledged the new regime and had even invited Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as head of the unity government to Washington for talks with President Barack Obama.
By inviting Hamdallah, this Palestinian official asserted that the Obama Administration had “renounced its previous disapproval of the national unity government and will now support the new government.”
The very next day, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that claim was false. “There has been no invitation issued to Prime Minister Hamdallah,” she told reporters in Washington.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu at Sunday’s cabinet meeting urged other world leaders to avoid recognizing the new Palestinian government, as doing so would only give a boost to anti-Israel violence, and therefore put true peace even further out of reach.
“Hamas is a terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel,” said Netanyahu. “This [the unity government] will not strengthen peace; [rather] it will strengthen terror.”