June 2, 2014: Palestinian unity government of Fatah and Hamas sworn in, Israel angry
After seven years of a bitter and at times lethalrivalry between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, a historic Palestinian unity government has been sworn in , ending years of division.
The signing ceremony, which seems likely to complicate relations with the Palestinian Authority’s international aid donors in Europe and the US and increase tensions with Israel, was broadcast live in Gaza and the West Bank.
Despite the US secretary of state, John Kerry, telephoning the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to express “concern about Hamas’s role in any such government” ahead of the ceremony, the US said on Monday night that it would work with the new government but that it would be “watching closely to ensure that it upholds principles that President Abbas reiterated today”, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Israel, which suspended peace negotiations in April when a surprise reconciliation deal was signed opening the way to the appointment of the new government, reacted angrily to the deal. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, chairing a security cabinet following the signing, told ministers: “Today, Abu Mazen [as President Mahmoud Abbas is known] said yes to terrorism and no to peace.”
The meeting voted to authorise Netanyahu to impose unspecified sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, adding that it would now hold the Palestinian Authority “responsible” for any attacks originating from the Gaza Strip.
Israel also said it would act – including in the international community –to prevent Palestinian elections taking place which included the participation of Hamas.