White House official: We will work with Palestinian unity government

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A senior official in the White House reportedly said the U.S. would cooperate with a soon-to-be-formed Palestinian unity government, despite Israeli opposition.

A unity government is set to be established within a week by Fatah, which controls the West Bank’s Palestinian areas, and Hamas, the terrorist group that governs Gaza. United States policy is not to work with Hamas unless it recognizes Israel, commits to nonviolence and abides by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.


Although it will have Hamas’ support, the new government will be made up of technocrats, rather than representatives of Hamas or Fatah. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the new government will abide by the conditions mandated by the U.S.

An anonymous senior White House official told Haaretz that the U.S. will work with the new government as long as it abides by the conditions, even if it has Hamas’ support. A meeting of 28 European Union foreign ministers last week took a similar position.

“We want a Palestinian government that upholds those principles,” the White House official told Haaretz. “In terms of how they build this government, we are not able to orchestrate that for the Palestinians. We are not going to be able to engineer every member of this government.”

When the Palestinian factions announced the unity agreement in April, the Israeli government announced that it would not negotiate with any government backed by Hamas.

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