US condemns rocket fire, will still work with new PA gov’t

State Department spokeswoman calls Gaza launches ‘unprovoked aggression,’ calls on Abbas to control security situation

US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki (YouTube, screen capture)
US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki (YouTube, screen capture)

The United States on Wednesday denounced as “unprovoked aggression” a rocket attack launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, but said it would still work with the new Palestinian government.

“We condemn all rocket fire from Gaza. It is unprovoked aggression against civilian targets and is totally unacceptable,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Israel says it holds Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas responsible for the attacks, even though he condemned the rocket fire which landed in the Eshkol region without causing any casualties or damage.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has reached a deal with Hamas to set up a technocratic government to run the Palestinian Authority ahead of new elections.

“President Abbas must do all in his power to prevent deterioration in the security situation,” Psaki said, welcoming his condemnation of the attack which came from the militant Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

The US does “acknowledge the reality that Hamas currently controls Gaza,” the spokeswoman said.

But she noted that there were no members affiliated with Hamas in the new government, and said the US would continue to work with it.

“We made a decision as the United States government that our assistance to the Palestinian Authority is important to the United States,” Psaki told reporters.

“While we’re very concerned about these rocket attacks and we feel President Abbas needs to do everything possible to prevent them, we understand that his ability to do that is severely limited at this point in time,” she said.

“We would also note that he has upheld his responsibility to maintain security coordination with Israel and he has publicly stressed his commitment to do that.”

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians which had been relaunched after dogged efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry are currently suspending, after Israel withdrew from the process angered by the Palestinian deal with Hamas.

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