US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas by phone on Sunday, and "expressed concern" about the swearing in of the Fatah-Hamas unity government which will take place on Monday.
According to US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, Kerry “expressed concern about Hamas’s role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements with it."
Psaki reported that “President Abbas assured the secretary that the new government would be committed to these principles."
Abbas added that the unity government with the terrorist group Hamas is an internal "Palestinian process" that wouldn't affect contact with Israel or diplomatic relations with the US.
Abbas reportedly told Kerry that "the new government will include independent representatives, and will be subservient to my agenda," reported Walla! quoting the Arab press agency Wafa.
There has been friction surrounding the forming of the unity government, given that Abbas in the past has said Hamas won't be part of the "independent government," even as Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a "unity" government.
No support "immediately"
The statement of at least temporary opposition comes after an official source in the PA reported last Friday that the US invited unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah for an official visit to Washington DC, in a move the official claimed constituted recognition of the unity government.
A senior American official denied the invitation later on Friday, saying the US has not yet formed a clear policy regarding the unity government, since that government has not yet been officially established.
The new unity government is to be sworn in at 1 p.m. local time on Monday, in Ramallah. Rami Hamdallah, the outgoing PA government prime minister, will be appointed as prime minister of the new government as well in the ceremony.
Three 'future Palestinian ministers' from Hamas-controlled Gaza will not be attending, after being denied entry to Samaria by the IDF. They will reportedly be sworn in via a live video feed.
The unity government in its inclusion of Hamas and Islamic Jihad constitutes a change in the framework of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the group recognized internationally as representing the "Palestinian people," but which has never rejected terrorism.