State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki tentatively approved of Palestine’s new unity government Monday, saying “Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government.”
“But,” Psaki continued, “we’ll be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today.”
Asked if this means that the U.S. will continue to provide aid to the Palestinian government, she replied “It does. But we will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government and calibrate our approach accordingly.”
Abbas swore in new government ministers Monday, and promised to support several peace principles, including recognizing Israel.
This position is in conflict with the official stance in Jerusalem, which outright rejects the new Palestinian leadership because Hamas remains committed to destroying Israel and is a designated terrorist organization in Israel, the U.S. and the EU.
According to Reuters:
Israel said on Monday it was “deeply disappointed” by the U.S. State Department saying it would work with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas Islamists opposed to Israel’s existence.
In a statement to reporters issued after Washington’s announcement, an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity said:
“We are deeply disappointed by the State Department regarding working with the Palestinian unity government.”
The statement said Washington could advance peacemaking by urging Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “to end his pact with Hamas and return to peace talks with Israel”. Israel suspended the talks last month after Abbas made an initial deal with Hamas, which Israel shuns as a terrorist organization.