Saturday, June 7, 2014

US Support of Palestinian Unity Embitters Israel; Represents Shift in US Policy That Favored Israel

The new Palestinian unity government brought together rivals Hamas and Fatah on June 2nd, but it has opened a divide between long-time allies Israel and the United States, the Forward (Jewish) website reports today (June 7, 2014).

"I'm deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview this week. Israel does not recognize the new united Palestinian government, because it considers the Hamas to be a terrorist group.

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 has taken Israel aback. It is significant because it represents a shift in the foreign policy of the United States, which traditionally has supported Israel in Israeli-Palestinian disputes.

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."

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