(Reuters) – The United States said on Monday it plans to work with and fund the new Palestinian unity government formed after an agreement by the Fatah and Hamas factions, and Israel immediately voiced its disappointment with the U.S. decision.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a unity government on Monday in a reconciliation deal with Hamas Islamists, who advocate Israel’s destruction.
The United States views Hamas as a “terrorist” organization and the U.S. Congress has imposed restrictions on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority, which typically runs at $500 million a year, in the event of a unity government.
Senior U.S. lawmakers said on Monday Washington should suspend aid to the new unity government until it is sure of the Islamist group’s commitment to pursuing peace with Israel.
In its first comment since the Palestinian government was sworn in, however, the State Department stressed that it regarded the new Cabinet as made up of technocrats and that it was willing to do business with it.