Israel's prime minister has said that he is "deeply troubled" by the United States' decision to maintain relations with the new Palestinian unity government, urging Washington to tell the Palestinian president that his alliance with Hamas is unacceptable.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on Tuesday reflect the Israeli government’s disappointment and frustration over the acceptance of the international community of Mahmoud Abbas’ new unity government in Palestine.
"I'm deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas," Netanyahu told The Associated Press news agency.
"All those who genuinely seek peace must reject President Abbas' embrace of Hamas, and most especially, I think the United States must make it absolutely clear to the Palestinian president that his pact with Hamas, a terrorist organisation that seeks Israel's liquidation, is simply unacceptable," he said.
Netanyahu urged the international community to shun the government because it is backed by Hamas, an anti-Israeli armed group that has carried out numerous attacks against Israel over the past two decades.
The United Nations welcomed the new government expressing willingness to lend its full support in efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"The United Nations has long underscored the need for progress towards Palestinian unity," Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday in a statement.
The US and the EU have said they will maintain ties to the new government - and continue sending financial aid on the condition that it renounces violence and recognises Israel’s right to exist, AP reported.
Abbas says the new Cabinet is committed to these principles. It is made up of apolitical technocrats who have no ties to Hamas, while the armed group, which remains sworn to Israel's destruction, has agreed to support the government.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Tuesday that the government was committed to all agreements previously reached with Israel and would continue the president's "programmes of peace," aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"We call on the international community to immediately recognise the government and continue to support the Palestinian political leadership efforts to enable the government to face all political challenges, especially the Israeli policies that hinder the political and economic stability in the region," Hamdallah said.