Steinitz Slams US 'Self-Deception' on Unity Government
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz dismissed the US's claim that the new Palestinian Authority (PA) unity government is "safe" Thursday, which Washington has based on the fact that PA leaders "are committed to previous agreements."
"We must ask: do they intend to ask Mahmoud Abbas and his government to publicly return to the 'principle of absolute demilitarization' that was a foundation of the Oslo Accords, and to start dismantling and destroying thousands of missiles - most of which were shipped from Iran - from Gaza?"
"If not, then all the talk about a Palestinian government 'committed to prior agreements' is nothing but self-deception," he concluded.
Steinitz's comments follow remarks from US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, who insisted Thursday that the US 'has no illusions' about the unity government, nor Hamas's role in it.
"We have no illusions about Hamas," he claimed. "Hamas is a terrorist organization."
Shapiro also denied reports that the US has been working closely with Hamas behind closed doors.
"We do not have ties to Hamas, we do not work with them, we do not we will give assistance to them," Shapiro said. "We will not work with a government that has Hamas sitting [in its parliament]."
Earlier, the State Department insisted that the government "has no Hamas members" and that "it is not a government backed by Hamas."
The US has largely predicated its premise for suddenly announcing its willingness to 'work with' the new 'unity' government on the misnomer that the government does not actually include Hamas politicians. Despite this, Hamas announced that any "unity" government would be unequivocally subject to their approval before being established.
Israel has stated that it is "deeply disappointed" in the US following the announcement that it supports the new government, and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan went so far as to call the United States “naive”.
Steinitz, in particular, has been a vocal critic of the US's support since the first indications arose that it would support the PA earlier this week, and the Minister has accused Washington of hypocrisy.