U.S. Vows to Support New Palestinian Government, Much to Israel’s Distress

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The Obama Administration has promised to cooperate with and financially support the new Palestinian unity government, drawing the ire of Israeli officials as well as certain lawmakers in the U.S.

The new government, which President Mahmoud Abbas swore in on Monday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, is the result of a pact between the Palestine Liberation Organization and militant Islamic group Hamas. The deal was signed six weeks ago after nearly a decade of territorial conflict between the two factions.

Although the U.S. at first condemned the pact, pointing to Hamas’ status as a terrorist organization, Reuters reports that the State Department is cautiously optimistic regarding peace in the region.

Israel, however, has said it was “deeply disappointed” with Washington’s stance. At a Cabinet meeting over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the international community “not to rush to recognize” the new government in light of Hamas’ record of antagonism toward Israel.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction, and the international community must not embrace it,” Netanyahu said. “That would not bolster peace, it would strengthen terror.”

Additionally, several leading U.S. politicians encouraged Congress to suspend its yearly financial aid package to the Palestinians, also expressing skepticism over the new government’s commitment to peace in the region.

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