Israel urges to boycott Palestinian unity gov't
Updated: 2014-06-01 19:17
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the international community on Sunday not to recognize the Palestinian unity government set to be announced on Monday.
"I call on all the responsible entities in the international community not to go ahead and acknowledge a Palestinian government which includes Hamas," Netanyahu said at the weekly Cabinet meeting, according to a statement from his office.
"Hamas is a terror organization which calls for the destruction of Israel, and the international community should not embrace it. This will not strengthen peace but rather strengthen terrorism," Netanyahu added.
On Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel had officially informed the Palestinian side that it will boycott the new Palestinian unity government.
"Israel is punishing us because we agreed with Hamas movement to achieve internal reconciliation and end internal division," Abbas said.
"We deal with the whole issue step by step. We won't respond to the Israeli decision because we don't want to be the first to respond, but we will react to any Israeli action and we will respond to it," the Palestinian president added.
Israel suspended its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in late April, after the Palestinian factions of Fatah and the Hamas announced a reconciliation agreement was reached after nearly 7 years of dispute.
The Israeli cabinet said it would not conduct negotiations with a Hamas-backed government, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority insisted it would continue to lead the peace talks with Israel rather than Hamas.
Other than the decision to suspend the negotiations, the Israeli government is contemplating further sanctions against the Palestinians in response to the unity agreement, including enacting economic sanctions and possible unilateral moves like annexation of parts of the West Bank.
In March, Israel decided to halt its governmental ministries' cooperation on civil matters with the Palestinian Authority, after the latter unilaterally approached and asked to join 15 international conventions and organizations.