Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Monday evening criticized what he called the U.S. government’s “naiveté”, after the State Department said Washington was willing to work with the new Palestinian Authority unity government.
“Unfortunately, the American naiveté is breaking all records. Cooperating with Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization in the U.S. and which murders women and children is unacceptable,” he said.
“America’s repeated surrendering to the dictates of the Palestinians seriously harms the chances of ever resuming negotiations with the Palestinians, and Israel will take unilateral steps to protect its citizens from the terrorist government established by [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas,” declared Erdan.
Erdan’s remarks were a response to a statement earlier by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said Washington believes Abbas has "formed an interim technocratic government... that does not include members affiliated with Hamas."
"With what we know now, we will work with this government," Psaki said.
The new PA unity government was sworn in on Monday in Ramallah, the first such unity government for seven years.
The government is part of a the reconciliation deal recently signed by Hamas and Fatah, which aims to bring an end to a bloody seven-year feud between the sides.
The Israeli Cabinet decided after the swearing in not to engage politically with the new government, as part of the policy not to negotiate with terrorists.
In an official statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said “Abbas said 'yes' to terror, not peace It is the direct continuation of Abbas's policy to refuse peace, while Israel has made courageous and painful steps for the political process and remains committed to peace.”