Senior Hamas, Fatah officials celebrate unity
Senior Hamas, Fatah officials celebrate unity Reuters

World governments should not rush to approve the new Palestinian Arab "unity" government, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Sunday, after the Palestinian Authority (PA) accused Israel of looking to punish them over a unity deal.

"I call on all responsible elements within the international community not to hurry to recognize the Palestinian government that Hamas is part of, and which relies on Hamas," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, saying it would "strengthen terror." 

Abbas has insisted that a 'unity' government would be based on what he called "the four Palestinian principles":  recognizing Israel, recognizing the terms of international agreements, and the explicit rejection of violence and terrorism. 

But Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.

More recently, Hamas announced that any "unity" government would be unequivocally subject to their approval before being established. 

The group’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and at least one top official has ruled out the possibility that Hamas will recognize “the Zionist entity,” even after the unity pact with Fatah.

Hamas representatives have already claimed that the PA's police forces will be integrated into Hamas's police in Gaza, less than a week after co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar angrily denied allowing Hamas to be integrated into the PA side of law enforcement. 

Concerns have been raised about the international community's response to a Hamas-control government, as the EU has expressed support for the pact - fully convinced that Abbas, not Haniyeh, will take the lead.

International media has also seized on this conviction, following closely Abbas's accusations that Israel is preventing a "peaceful" unity government as he insists that he, not Hamas, will maintain control. 

Israel has underscored its stance on negotiating with terror on multiple occasions, imposing political and economic sanctions on the PA and denying Hamas "ministers" entry into Samaria last week. 

"Israel wants to punish us because we have agreed with Hamas on this government," Abbas complained. He made no mention of the ongoing spat between the PA and Hamas over government control. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office did not respond to AFP's requests for comment. 

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