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US, Israel Express Concern About New Palestinian Unity Government

  • VOA News

FILE - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks during a leadership meeting in Ramallah.

FILE - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks during a leadership meeting in Ramallah.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sworn in a new unity government between Fatah and Hamas, the two groups that have separately governed the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the past seven years.

The ceremony in Ramallah went ahead Monday after the two sides overcame a last minute dispute over a decision by Abbas to not include a ministry of prison affairs

The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concerns Sunday to Abbas about the Islamist group having a role in any Palestinian government.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Abbas assured the secretary that the government would commit to nonviolence and recognize Israel, and that Kerry said the U.S. would judge the body by its composition, policies and actions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged world leaders not to recognize the Palestinian government, saying Sunday it will "strengthen terrorism" because Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel.

"I call on all the responsible elements in the international community not to hurry and recognize a Palestinian government which includes Hamas or leaning on Hamas," said in Hebrew. " Hamas is a terrorist organization which calls for the destruction of Israel and the international community must not embrace it. This will not strengthen peace, it will strengthen terror."

The installation of a unity government follows an agreement the Palestinian sides made in April for political cooperation.

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