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Abbas: Why Would Israel Reject Palestinian Arab Unity Government?

Abbas claims not to understand why Israel would oppose a unity government of the PLO and Hamas.

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Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah.
Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi / Flash 90



Hamas and the PLO will announce their Unity Government on Monday, June 2, according to Palestinian Arab media outlet Ma’an.

Acting head of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the Fatah party, Mahmoud Abbas, said the government would be “composed of independents and experts, not members of Fatah or Hamas or any other organization.”

Abbas also responded to claims made by Israel that it would not deal with the Unity Government. Israel has long held the position that it will not negotiate with the terrorist organization Hamas. The Hamas governing document calls for the destruction of Israel.

One anticipated move Israel may take is to withhold the taxes it collects from Palestinian Arab citizens. Currently, Israel transfers those funds to the PA in a manner analogous to American tourists recovering the VAT at the Israeli airport.

Abbas also claimed that Israel has no right to boycott the national unity government because, just as the current PA and the PLO, the new government will recognize international law and will adopt the same policies the PA has adopted.

“The policy of the (unity) government is our policy. … The government will adopt (the policies) that we have adopted. The government recognizes the state of Israel. The government recognizes international law,” he said.

“Where is the mistake that Israel is opposing this government for?”

“Israel wants to boycott us because we made an agreement with Hamas … but Hamas is part of our people,” he added.

The United States also has prohibitions against providing funding to a government in which Hamas is involved in any substantial way.

A 2012 Appropriations bill restricts U.S. aid from going “to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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