Steinitz Accuses Washington of Hypocrisy over Hamas Gov't
Israeli government officials continued to express outrage over the US's commitment to support a Hamas-backed Palestinian Arab "unity" government Tuesday, accusing Washington of hypocrisy.
"I have to say I do not understand this American announcement," Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz stated to IDF Radio.
"You cannot present it as a Hamas government internally, then present it publicly as a government of technocrats," he added. "If these (ministers) are people who identify with Hamas, Hamas identifies with them and appointed them, then they are representatives of Hamas. This is a Hamas government, and Hamas is a terror organization," he said.
The remarks come in 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
"If the US administration wants to advance peace, it should be calling on Abbas to end his pact with Hamas and return to peace talks with Israel," he said. "Instead, it is enabling Abbas to believe that it is acceptable to form a government with a terrorist organization."
The US was initially hesitant to accept the new government, according to earlier reports, making Monday's announcement a dramatic about-face in US policy.
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.
Meanwhile, the issue of US aid to a PLO "unity" government has been raised, with US lawmakers pushing to finally stop aid to the PA over the Fatah-Hamas pact.
On Monday, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon also warned the US that its taxpayer money will ultimately fund terror.
"The replacement of ministers in the Palestinian government is just a pretty wrapping for the terrorist attacks that were conducted and will be conducted under their protection," Danon stated.
"Now, all aid given to the Palestinians by the United States and other countries directly aids terror attacks against the state of Israel."