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PA: Netanyahu failed to isolate unity govt

June 3, 2014 7:22 P.M. (Updated: June 6, 2014 10:33 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had failed to isolate the national unity government internationally.

The ministry said in a statement that Netanyahu faced the "first round" of the battle with the Palestinian leadership which the unity government won.

"Netanyahu employed the division to weaken the political stand of Palestine, and he used it to hide his negative attitudes toward the rights of the Palestinian people.

"He went through the battle of international acknowledgement of the unity government and stood against reconciliation because it achieves unity of the occupied Palestinian lands since 1967."

Earlier, the European Union and United Nations offered public backing for the Palestinian unity government sworn in a day earlier in Ramallah.

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said during a meeting with premier Rami Hamdallah that the UN backs the unity government and hopes it will meet the needs of Palestinians in the West Bank Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Hamdallah assured Serry that the government would commit to all previous agreements signed by the PLO.

The office of the EU High Representative said in a statement that the government was an "important step in the process of Palestinian reconciliation."

"We welcome the appointment of a government of independent personalities and the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel's legitimate right to exist, to non-violence and to the respect of previous agreements."

The EU's engagement with the new government will be dependent on whether it adheres to these principles, the statement added.

British Foreign Minister William Hague also welcomed the unity government, saying that "reuniting Gaza and the West Bank under a government committed to peace is a necessary condition for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

Ahead of those announcements, the United States publicly offered its backing for the government.

"At this point, it appears that president Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Israel on Monday admitted it was "deeply disappointed" after Washington threw its support behind the new Palestinian government.

To add to the embarrassment, Netanyahu told the security cabinet on Sunday that Kerry had promised Israel that Washington would not immediately recognize the new government, Haaretz reported, quoting two ministers present at the meeting.

Peace talks collapsed in April after Israel refused to release a final group of veteran Palestinian prisoners.

During the course of negotiations, the Israeli government announced plans for thousands of illegal settler homes, killed over 60 Palestinians, and demolished a total of 508 Palestinian structures, 312 of which were homes.
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