Opposition Head Blasts Netanyahu's Handling of Palestinian Unity Government

Labor's Yitzhak Herzog says the prime minister has led to a 'diplomatic collapse of Israeli foreign policy,' calls on him to present clear political plan.

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor chairman Isaac Herzog.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor chairman Isaac Herzog.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the new Palestinian unity government on Wednesday, saying that his policy has led to "a complete collapse of Israeli foreign policy."

According to Herzog, Netanyahu failed to understand that Israel's status in the international arena is weakening, and has "let the Hamas into the West Bank through the front door."

Herzog added: "The man who describes himself as strong against Hamas has turned out to be strong at nothing but talk." Because of Netanyahu, he said, "even the U.S. is willing to work with the Palestinian unity government. Netanyahu is talking, but the world isn’t listening."

Herzog called on Netanyahu to present a clear diplomatic plan and take initiative before Israel loses support of the international community.

Also on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. will monitor the new Palestinian unity government and its commitment to continued cooperation with Israel.

Kerry, who spoke during a one-day visit to the Lebanese capital Beirut, said that he had spoken with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and received assurances that the new technocratic government is committed to recognition of Israel, denouncing violence and maintaining the security coordination with Israel.

"We are going to be watching (the government) very closely, as we said from day one, to absolutely ensure that it upholds each of those things it has talked about, that it doesn't cross the line," Kerry said.

A senior Israeli official noted that after the U.S. voiced its support for the unity cabinet and announced it will cooperate with it, it was clear that many other countries will follow suit. "It's hard to understand how the international community ignores the moves President Abbas made against peace in recent weeks," the official said. "The argument repeated by different countries that the Palestinian reconciliation government will promote peace is a strange one."

The official noted that despite the Obama administration's stance, various elements in Congress have already made opposite remarks, and demanded a cessation of the U.S. aid to the Palestinians.

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