The European Union (EU) said Tuesday it will work with the new Palestinian Authority unity government, which includes the Hamas terrorist group, on condition it sticks to the principle of peace with Israel based on a two-state solution.
"We welcome ... the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel's legitimate right to exist," the EU said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency.
"The EU's engagement with the new Palestinian government will be based on its adherence to these policies and commitments," the statement added.
The European announcement follows that of the United States. 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.
The American declaration was received with disappointment among Israeli officials, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he is "deeply troubled" by the United States' decision.
"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," he told AP.
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan called 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 Monday.
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."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of the Shavuot holiday in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)