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White House official: We will work with Palestinian unity government

JTA

May 20, 2014 | 10:25 am

<em>Head of the Hamas Ismail Haniyeh, middle, and senior Fatah official Azzam Ahmed sign a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City on April 23. Photo by Ahmed Sha'at/Gaza Prime Minister Office (PMO)/Handout via Reuters</em>

Head of the Hamas Ismail Haniyeh, middle, and senior Fatah official Azzam Ahmed sign a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City on April 23. Photo by Ahmed Sha'at/Gaza Prime Minister Office (PMO)/Handout via Reuters

A senior official in the White House said the United States 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. U.S. 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 Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said the new government will abide by the conditions mandated by the U.S.

The United States will work with the new government as long as it abides by the conditions, even if it has Hamas’ support, the anonymous White House official told Haaretz. 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 the Israeli daily. “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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