Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday to disarm Hamas and take control of the Gaza Strip after creating a unity government with Hamas approval.
If Abbas fails to do so, it will be clear that the reconciliation is a farce meant to fool the world, Ya’alon said at a meeting with foreign military attachés in Israel, according to Israel Radio,
Ya’alon added that, although Israel desires peace, it is not willing to deceive itself. He blamed the PA for its unwillingness to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and to reach an agreement that will end the conflict for good.
Opposing Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas set aside their differences earlier this week and formed a national unity government, ending seven years of hostility.
Jerusalem on Monday night slammed the United States for announcing that it will work with the new Palestinian unity government. Israeli officials said that Washington ought to be urging Abbas to disband his pact with Hamas and resume peace negotiations with Israel instead of associating with a terror group.
US Secretary of State John Kerry responded to criticism Wednesday, saying Abbas “made clear that this new technocratic government is committed to the principles of nonviolence, negotiations, recognizing the state of Israel, acceptance of the previous agreements and the Quartet principles.”
Kerry added: “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.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.