Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told The Associated Press (AP) Tuesday he is "deeply troubled" by the United States' decision to maintain relations with the new Hamas-Fatah unity government.
"I'm deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas," Netanyahu told AP, saying the group has murdered "countless innocent civilians."
The comments came after State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday that 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.
"All those who genuinely seek peace must reject President Abbas' embrace of Hamas, and most especially, I think the United States must make it absolutely clear to the Palestinian president that his pact with Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks Israel's liquidation, is simply unacceptable," Netanyahu said Tuesday.
An Israeli official had said following Psaki’s declaration that Israel was "deeply disappointed" by the United States’ readiness to work with the new PA government.
"We are deeply disappointed by the comments of the (U.S.) State Department regarding working with the Palestinian unity government," a government official said.
"This Palestinian government is a government backed by Hamas, which is a terror organization committed to Israel's destruction," the official, who declined to be named, pointed out.
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan went even further, calling the United States “naive” following Psaki’s comments.
“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.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz accused Washington of hypocrisy on Tuesday, telling Army Radio, "You cannot present it as a Hamas government internally, then present it publicly as a government of technocrats 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."