Opposition leader and Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog on Wednesday blamed the US’s and the EU’s recognition of a Hamas-backed Palestinian unity government this week on the “complete collapse of Israeli foreign policy” headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Herzog said the events of the past several days, in which the US, the EU and the UN welcomed news of the new Palestinian leadership, proved that “Netanyahu and Liberman failed to understand the international arena.”
“Netanyahu speaks [but] the world doesn’t listen,” said Herzog adding that the prime minister’s failure to lead a diplomatic process “let Hamas into the West Bank through the front door.”
Herzog warned that if Netanyahu doesn’t act on the diplomatic front, “Israel will lose the support of the international community and the ability to preserve [Israel] as a Jewish and democratic state.”
The opposition leader called on the prime minister to come up with a clear plan to avoid Israel becoming a binational state with a Jewish minority.
“The man who describes himself as strong against Hamas is revealed as being strong at nothing but talking, Herzog wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.
Israel has castigated the US over its position, arguing that by maintaining ties with a government supported by a terror group, the US was indicating to PA President Mahmoud Abbas that it was okay to “form a government with a terrorist group.”
“I’m deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas,” Netanyahu told The Associated Press, saying the group has murdered “countless innocent civilians.”
“All those who genuinely seek peace must reject President Abbas’s embrace of Hamas, and most especially, I think the United States must make it absolutely clear to the Palestinian president that his pact with Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s liquidation, is simply unacceptable,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry defended Wednesday a US decision to work with the new Palestinian unity government, despite Israeli criticism, emphasizing that the new Palestinian leadership did not include any Hamas ministers.
Speaking to reporters in Beirut, Kerry said Abbas “made clear that this new technocratic government is committed to the principles of non violence, negotiations, recognizing the state of Israel, acceptance of the previous agreements and the Quartet principles.”
“Based on what we know now about the composition of this technocratic government, which has no minister affiliated to Hamas and is committed to the principles that I describe, we will work with it as we need to, as appropriate.”
While on an unscheduled visit to Beirut, Kerry said: “I want to make it very clear we are going to be watching it (the government) very closely, as we have said from day one, to absolutely ensure that it upholds each of those things it has talked about, that it doesn’t cross the line.”
A new Palestinian cabinet was sworn in Monday, after a surprise reconciliation deal reached in April between Hamas and the PLO.