News / Middle East

US to Work with Palestinian Unity Government

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah talks to media after the first unity government meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 3, 2014.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah talks to media after the first unity government meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 3, 2014.
Victor Beattie
The United States says it intends, for now, to work with the new Palestinian unity government, including continued foreign assistance. But, Washington said, it will judge the government by its actions and calibrate its approach. A Mideast expert says that while both Palestinian factions stand to benefit from the arrangement, it will do little to advance the suspended peace process in the near term.
 
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a news briefing Monday the interim technocratic government announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas does not include ministers affiliated with the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and which Washington has designated a terrorist organization.
 
"Moving forward, we will be judging this government by its actions.  Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government, but we will be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today," said Psaki.
 
Psaki said Abbas reaffirmed his support for the principles laid out by the Quartet on the Middle East, involving the United Nations, European Union, the United States and Russia. Those principles include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by previous agreements.
 
Abbas swore in the new unity government Monday following a landmark reconciliation deal with Hamas. His Fatah party has governed only the West Bank since Hamas gained control of Gaza in 2007.
 
University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick said both factions benefit from the deal.
 
"As long as Hamas needs the support it could conceivably get from the international community through the Palestinian Authority, it has an interest in playing nice with Fatah. And, Fatah has an interest in playing nice with Hamas because it needs some source of legitimacy on the West Bank. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority is not held in high regard by most of the population of the West Bank. They’re seen as living relatively high off the hog and certainly not accomplishing anything vis-à-vis the Israelis. So, if the government can get an agreement with Hamas to reunify and that can be recognized and worked with by the international community while Israel opposes it, it is a kind of a political victory that Fatah enjoys," said Lustick.
 
Lustick said the timing of the unity government likely has to do with Abbas’ need to hold elections and the collapse in April of the latest effort at peace talks with Israel. 
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged world leaders not to recognize the Palestinian government, saying it will "strengthen terrorism.” His government suspended U.S.-sponsored peace talks April 23, after the two Palestinian factions announced their intention to form a unity government.
 
Lustick said that while Hamas still wants Israel’s destruction, it takes a long view of its struggle with the Jewish state. He said the Islamist group may be open to a negotiated settlement that does not require it to recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but only a kind of ‘generation-long’ cease-fire, like the peaceful co-existence between East and West during the Cold War.
 
Lustick also said that if the Palestinian government manages to hold together for a couple of years, it is possible Israel will come around, given the benefits that a security arrangement with the Palestinian Authority gives it. If Palestinians are able to hold elections in Gaza and the West Bank that produces a government seen by Palestinians as legitimate, he said, it is possible some Israelis will see an incentive to negotiate seriously.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
June 04, 2014 10:59 AM
Diplomacy the peace Palestinian and Israel

by: joe from: ft lauderdale
June 04, 2014 6:13 AM
Israel is the USA's only strategic arms point in the middle east.muSLIMES lie as it states in the koran.(takiyya)

by: eric from: LA
June 03, 2014 2:43 PM
Judeo-Christian, and so it is. But the bad people want those American $$$

by: JohnWV from: USA
June 03, 2014 9:11 AM
Israel instigated all our Mideast wars and benefited from all. None were in American interests, yet we did the financing and dying. AIPAC's control of Congress and The Jewish state's false flag 9-11 New York massacre made it happen. Our acceptance and enabling of racist Israel's brutalization of the Palestinians and illegal confiscation of their homeland for generations is despicable. It shames America before the whole world.
In Response

by: Mladen Andrijasevic from: Isarel
June 04, 2014 12:03 AM
You need some basic education on the Middle East with quote from the original sources. Here it is:

A mini 5 + 1 question quiz for Secretary Kerry
http://www.madisdead.blogspot.co.il/2014/01/a-mini-5-1-question-quiz-for-secretary.html

by: musawi melake
June 03, 2014 7:37 AM
It should be far less freighting if the fox simply trys to fight, but when it says it will work with you, then it means the fox is planing to do greater damage than otherwise, for it feels that it's in a bad position to fight at the moment. This is how the past 500 or so years have been, when a bunch of unordered Europeans controlled the whole world, by splitting and conquring. It was a wise decesion by the Taliban not to talk to the fox and it's allies, because if they had done so, the entire picture would have been different now. Talking in Wstern thinking is another way of eliminating the opponent without fighting. Many entities, including the mighty Sovets have fallen prey to this.

by: henrytobias from: Israel
June 03, 2014 6:16 AM
How Professor Ian Lustick can compare the relationship between Israel and Hamas to that of the Cold War opponents I don't understand. Neither side in the Cold War questioned their rivals legitimacy, only their ideology, while Hamas refuses to recognize Israel has the right to exist. The comparison to the situation is ludicrous. What field of political science did the professor study - political science fiction?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More