US to 'Reconsider' Aid to PA if It Joins with Hamas
The United States would have to reconsider its assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if Fatah and Hamas form a government together, a senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Hamas and PA-Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas announced a unity pact on Wednesday, complicating his U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel that were already floundering.
"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties," the U.S. official told the news agency.
"If a new Palestinian government is formed, we will assess it based on its adherence to the stipulations above, its policies and actions, and will determine any implications for our assistance based on U.S. law," the official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
After seven years of internecine fighting and competition, the Fatah-Hamas deal involves establishment of a unity government within five weeks and general elections six months later.
However, providing U.S. aid to a unity government that includes Hamas would comprise assistance to a group the United States lists as a terrorist organization.
"We are following reports of Palestinian reconciliation efforts," the U.S. official who spoke on Thursday said. "We have been clear about the principles that must guide a Palestinian government in order for it to play a constructive role in achieving peace and building an independent Palestinian state."
PLO Deputy Secretary Yasser Abed Rabo told Palestinian radio it was too soon for the US to sanction a government that had not been formed yet. "There's no need for the Americans to get ahead of themselves over this. What happened in Gaza in the last two days is just a first step which we welcome and want to reinforce," he said.