Palestinian officials are expected to announce Monday the formation of a unity government between Fatah and Hamas, the two groups that have separately governed the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the past seven years.
The move follows an agreement they made in April for political cooperation.
The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concerns Sunday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about Hamas having a role in any Palestinian government.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Abbas assured the secretary that the government would be committed to nonviolence and recognize Israel. Kerry said the U.S. would judge the body by its composition, policies and actions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged world leaders not to recognize the Palestinian government, saying Sunday it will “strengthen terrorism” because Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel.
“I call on all the responsible elements in the international community not to hurry and recognize a Palestinian government which includes Hamas or leaning on Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization which calls for the destruction of Israel and the international community must not embrace it. This will not strengthen peace, it will strengthen terror,” said Netanyahu.
Abbas said Israel has threatened punitive measures against the Palestinians for uniting with Hamas.