U.S. Warms to Palestinian Unity as Israel Fumes

More and More, Allies Don't Walk in Diplomatic Lockstep

getty images

By Ron Kampeas

Published June 03, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — The new Palestinian unity government brought together rivals Hamas and Fatah, but it has opened a divide between allies Israel and the United States.

“I’m deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

The Obama administration’s announcement this week that it would continue working with and funding the Palestinian Authority under the new Hamas-backed unity government appears to have taken Israel aback. It represents something of a shift for the United States, which previously had voiced sympathy for Israeli concerns about the Palestinian unity government.

Analysts said the sharpness of the Israeli reaction should be seen in the context of anxieties that this and other U.S. moves could leave Israel isolated on vital matters.

“Take a step back and look at the trend line to see Israelis are deeply concerned about a nuclear Iran and the Americans’ engagement with Iran,” said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank. “We’re now looking at another situation where an illicit actor that endangers Israel is now being rehabilitated.”

Nathan Brown, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, said Israel’s concerns were about more than just the issue of Hamas.

“It’s clear that the U.S. and Israelis are not really coordinating on the issue,” Brown said. “Moving the dispute into public is unusual and it shows how worried Israel is about this development.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday swore in a government of technocrats that has the backing of his Fatah party, which is preeminent in the West Bank, and Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that governs Gaza.

Abbas said the new government would abide by peace agreements and recognize Israel, although Hamas continues to reject both principles.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at Monday’s daily briefing for reporters that the United States would continue to deal with the new government and that funding would continue.

“At this point, it appears that President Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas,” she said.

“Moving forward, we will be judging this government by its actions,” she said. “Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government, but we’ll be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.