US Secretary of State John Kerry voiced concerns over the new Palestinian unity government in a phone call Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, Kerry “expressed concern about Hamas’s role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to principles of nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel and acceptance of precious agreements with it.”
Psaki noted that “President Abbas assured the secretary that the new government would be committed to these principles.” Previous statements made by Abbas and Hamas leaders, including absolute refusal to recognize Israel’s rightful existence, call into question the true intentions of the newly formed Palestinian government.
Abbas told Kerry that the new unity government, including the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization, is part of an internal “Palestinian process” that should have no bearing on relations with Israel or the US.
The Palestinian leader reportedly told Kerry that “the new government will include independent representatives, and will be subservient to my agenda,” Walla! reported.
The US has yet to form an official policy regarding the unity government, pending its formation. The new unity government is set to be announced and sworn in on Monday in Ramallah. Rami Hamdallah, outgoing PA prime minister, will be appointed as the prime minister of the new government.
Three Hamas ministers, who were denied travel visas by Israel on Sunday, will not be attending the ceremony. Reports indicate they will be sworn in via a live video feed.
Maariv reported that security coordination between the PA and Israel will be handled by a new committee that includes members of Hamas. Placing coordination in jeopardy, Mustafa Margouti, a member of the committee, told Maariv, “In the course of talks about the establishment of the unity government, the Palestinian factions in Gaza raised the matter of security.”
“The compromise, in the form of the security committee, is meant to allow Hamas to continue to control Gaza’s security,” he said.
The Palestinian unity government will include leaders from the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. The new government has never rejected terrorism.