Israel plans retaliation against Palestinian government of national unity
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The suspension of all diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority , plans to block at least a portion of the tax revenue that the Israeli government receives on behalf of the PNA and a project for territorial annexations. These are some of the possible steps being discussed by the Israeli government following the creation of the Palestinian national unity government, which was formally sworn in yesterday (pictured), marking the end of the division between the PLO and Hamas. Moreover, in the U.S., Jewish pressure groups are seeking to obtain the suspension of aid and fund raising for the Palestinian government, while contesting Washington's declaration "based on what we know now we intend to work with this government".
The government consists of 17 "technical" ministers - none of which are attributable to Hamas, although five of them are from Gaza - and is headed by the current Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah who has as main task of preparing for the presidential elections to be held within six months.
The birth of the new Palestinian executive, which by President Mahmoud Abbas termed as " the end of division that caused catastrophic harm to our cause" provoked a decidedly negative reaction from the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Already on the eve of the swearing in of the new government the Israeli prime minister had said that "the agreement with Hamas makes Abbas directly responsible for any terrorist activity from Gaza". He has also appealed to Western governments not to "rush to recognize" the new Palestinian executive, which includes what he terms as a terrorist movement that has set the destruction of Israel as one of its goals. Speaking from Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh who recently stepped down as Hamas leader defined it as a "historic" day. But he also spoke of continuing the "resistance by all forms", adding that the 25 thousand men of the Qassam Brigades - the Hamas armed wing - has "now become an army".
These affirmations have certainly not pleased Jerusalem, where , between yesterday and Sunday, the Security Cabinet has created a team to study unilateral measures with which to respond to the new situation. Proposals include plans for the annexations, starting with parts of Area C, in particular the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem a historic settlement, which has about 70 thousand inhabitants. This annexation does not however have unanimous approval in the government, even the deputy Ofri Akunis, in charge of relations with parliament (the Knesset), said that the government is opposed to this measure, while saying he was personally in favor of the plan.