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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid