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Don't 'hurry' to back Palestinian govt, Israel PM warns
Published Sunday 01/06/2014 (updated) 03/06/2014 10:28
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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet
meeting in Jerusalem on June 1, 2014 (Pool/AFP Dan Balilty)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- World governments should not rush to approve the new Palestinian government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday after the Palestinians accused Israel of looking to punish them over a unity deal.

"I call on all responsible elements within the international community not to hurry to recognize the Palestinian government that Hamas is part of, and which relies on Hamas," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, saying it would "strengthen terror."

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said the new government, which he says would be sworn in at his Muqataa headquarters in Ramallah on Monday, will be a government of political independents that will reject violence, recognize Israel and abide by all existing agreements.

Although the formal line-up has not yet been made public, it has been pieced together by Abbas' secular Fatah movement and Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers in accordance with a reconciliation agreement inked in April. Technocratic in nature, it will not have a political mandate.

Israel has described the unity deal as a blow to peace and vowed to boycott it.

In a move which further underscored Israel's opposition to the new government which will take office on Monday, three Gazans who were to travel to the West Bank to be sworn in as ministers were blocked from leaving the coastal enclave, officials said.

Government boycott

Speaking late on Saturday, Abbas said Israel had informed him it would cut all ties with the incoming government, in what he described as punishing the Palestinians for overcoming their years-long internal political differences.

"Israel wants to punish us for agreeing with Hamas on this government," he said, explaining that it had been made clear to him that the Netanyahu administration would "boycott the government the moment it is announced."

But the Palestinians would have an answer for every Israeli move, he warned.

"Each Israeli step will have a proper Palestinian response," he said, without elaborating.

"We will take everything step-by-step, we will not be the ones to react first."

He appeared to be alluding to Palestinian intentions to seek further recognition for their promised state in the international diplomatic arena.

Stuck in the Strip

Earlier, a senior Palestinian official said Israel had blocked the passage of three Gazans who were to have been sworn in as ministers in the new government.

The three had applied to cross to the West Bank on Thursday, but their application was immediately rejected.

"We sent the application in on Thursday and explained that these officials are to be sworn in as ministers in Ramallah, but Israel immediately rejected the application," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry unit responsible for Palestinian civilian coordination, refused to comment on the matter, as did Netanyahu's office.

Earlier, public radio said COGAT head Major General Yoav Mordechai had vetoed the request, without saying why.

On April 23, rival Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip announced a surprise unity deal, pledging to work together to set up an interim government of political independents.

Israel immediately halted the crisis-hit peace talks, vowing it would never talk to any government backed by Hamas.

The new government, which will pave the way for long-overdue legislative and presidential elections, will be chaired by Rami Hamdallah, who is currently serving as prime minister in the Fatah-dominated West Bank administration.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
1 ) Joe / USA
01/06/2014 17:30
If Netanyahu wants to make Hamas a threat to their survival, I if I was one of them would take it as a compliment. And Hamas should and say thank you but we don't mean no harm.

2 ) Mel / USA
01/06/2014 18:05
Pardon my French,but f**k you Yahu!
I call on all responsible true"international community"members to NOT continue recognizing Israeli autocracy controlled by militaristic oppressors & terrorist Kahanist-Shas-La Familia fascists.I tell the the REAL international community(not just USG clients)to BDS Zionist-Israel for the sake of global Jewry & a more tolerant,civilized Israel living next to a free,civilized Palestine in mutual peace. We refuse to PATRON fascist Judeo-Nazi's with our US taxes!

3 ) Moving Forward / Palestine
01/06/2014 19:30
Unless Hamas [1] renounces "Armed Resistance" & Terrorism, and [2] promises to remove calls for "Israel's Destruction" from it's Charter, and [3] accepts Negotiations with Israel as the Only Route to Palestinian Statehood (which it almost certainly will Not, Not, & Not), this is * THE BEST NEWS EVER, since when a "Unity government is sworn in", * MOST WORLD GOVERNMENT WILL be sworn out, and * HALT FINANCIAL & POLITICAL SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE.

4 ) Tibi / Tubas
01/06/2014 19:36
World governments Should "approve the new Palestinian government", and simultaneously also inform the new government, that - Unless Hamas renounces "Armed Resistance" & Terrorism, promises to remove calls for "Israel's Destruction" from it's Charter, and accepts Negotiations with Israel as the Only Route to Palestinian Statehood, - It will have no further financial or political support !!

5 ) Joe / USA
01/06/2014 23:34
No one has the right to demand that other people creating their own State has a right to exist or not. And in return Israel cannot demand that the Palestinians have to recognize Israel as a Jewish State or even as a State, or forming a government with the devil if they want to. Israel do not recognize Palestine as a State. They don't have to. But it doesn't mean Palestinian cannot have their State. And beside Israel can say we created a State in 1948 and now we become independent.

6 ) Mel / USA
02/06/2014 17:42
#3&4:DENIALISTS!Why one earth would Hamas'renounce'what is a LEGAL HUMAN RIGHT i.e. the right to resist belligerent occupation &oppression,by anyone!That's a universal LAW & INALIENABLE human right(except in Zionist mindset of course).And what you term as'terrorism' the sane world defines as retaliation!Palestine,since the 1930's,has NEVER offensively attacked Israeli Zionists.Any actions have always been REACTIONS to post Zionist-militia terrorism,Israeli military attacks &breaking cease-fires!

7 ) ian / australia
03/06/2014 10:25
'Again...he hit out at Europe for demonstrating "ambiguity" to the idea of unity with Hamas, which is blacklisted by the European Union and Washington as a "terror organization".' Bibi demonstrating again why he is the obnoxious SOB needed to lead or, in this case, go down with the ship. Surely, the simple fact is if Hamas renounces violence and recognises Israel it's no longer a "terror organization" which is what the Europeans are clearly pondering (though the Charter may need some zhooshing).

8 ) ian / australia
03/06/2014 10:28
(contd.) But it's all very clear. No matter how "reasonable" or democratic the Palestinians become, the Israeli agenda, at least with Bibi in charge, will remain Talmudically rigid. No reduction in rocket fire or extreme rhetoric will change the policy of the "buffer zone" INSIDE Gaza or Israeli incursions into it. No Palestinian initiatives in the West Bank will cause a rethink of building in illegal settlements or the voracious route of the Wall or official indifference to settler violence.

9 ) ian / australia
03/06/2014 10:29
(contd.) Those Israeli policies are immutable and it's the Palestinians who clearly have no good faith "partner in peace". And as they become reasonable and moderate, and PERCEIVED to be by the world, Israel will be exposed as extreme, greedy, unreasonable, devious, cynical, duplicitous, conniving, complaining, annoying and violent (if I left anything out just add it in.)
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