The Bush administration found little good to say Saturday about a Palestinian coalition government that falls short of Western demands and complicates US plans to revive long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said part of the platform announced Saturday was disturbing, and he called Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's introductory speech disappointing.
Israel sure Quartet wall won't crumble
The PA prime minister called for pursuing "resistance" against Israel, adding that his government would support "all forms of resistance.
In addition, the terms of the new government do not fully satisfy requirements imposed by international donors and would-be peacemakers that Palestinian leaders renounce violence, accept Israel's right to exist and abide by previous agreements the Palestinians made with Israel and others.
"The ... reference to 'right of resistance' is disturbing and contradicts directly the Quartet principle of renunciation of violence," McCormack said, referring to the international peacemaking coalition of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia.
The rollout speech that Haniyeh delivered to the Palestinian Legislative Council "was disappointing and inconsistent with the quartet principles, as well as a missed opportunity" to affirm the new government's commitment to peace, McCormack said.
Israeli officials went further, saying the platform "thumbs its nose" at the international demands.
"This is a great disappointment and a severe blow to peace," said Sallai Meridor, Israel's ambassador in Washington. "Not only does this government call for continued terror attacks against Israel, it arms the extremists with veto power over any future agreements, with the intention of slamming the door on future prospects for peace."
McCormack said the United States would continue to deal with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and would continue to refuse dealings with Hamas officials. Contact with others would be evaluated case by case, McCormack said.