The Zionist regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday warned against any international rush to recognize a Palestinian government due to be announced under a unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Islamist groups.
"I call on all responsible elements in the international community not to rush to recognize a Palestinian government which has Hamas as part of it and which is dependent on Hamas," Netanyahu, who has said such an administration would be a front for the Islamist group, told his cabinet, Reuters reported.
Israel froze U.S.-brokered peace talks with Abbas when the unity deal was announced on April 23 after numerous unsuccessful attempts at Palestinian reconciliation since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in fighting in 2007.
Abbas said Saturday that Israel "informed us ... they would boycott us if we announced the government". Netanyahu, in his brief statement Sunday, made no reference to any Israeli sanctions.
Israel has withheld tax revenues from Abbas's aid-dependent Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, in retaliation for his signing in April of international conventions and treaties after Israel reneged on a promised release of Palestinian prisoners.
Israel and the West classify Hamas as a terrorist organization and have no official dealings with the movement, which advocates the destruction of the Jewish state.
But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas in April, said a unity government due to be announced Monday would be comprised of ministers without political affiliation, a status that could ease the way for Western engagement.
Gaza officials denied entrance to West Bank
On Saturday, a Palestinian official said Israel had denied requests by three Gaza-based Palestinians expected to be named as ministers to attend the new government's swearing-in ceremony in the occupied West Bank.
Both Fatah and Hamas see benefits to a unity pact, though disagreements have blocked them from achieving such a government for years.
With a strict blockade imposed by neighbors Israel and Egypt, Hamas has been struggling to prop up Gaza's economy and pay its 40,000 employees. Abbas, for his part, wants to shore up his domestic support since the peace talks with Israel collapsed.
Gaza militants exchange fire with Israelis
Meanwhile, Palestinian militants clashed Sunday with a Zionist army force that had staged an incursion into southeastern Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian militants fired several mortar shells on the advancing Israeli armored vehicles, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.
They added that Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian land and homes in the area.
There were no reports of any casualties, according to Palestinian medical sources.
Israeli forces stage incursions into the Gaza Strip on an almost daily basis from the enclave's eastern and northern borders under the pretext of securing its frontier.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader