JERUSALEM, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Israel's diplomatic and security cabinet announced a series of resolutions on Monday against the new Palestinian unity government after it was sworn in earlier in Ramallah.
"The diplomatic security cabinet decided to continue the suspension of the negotiations with a Hamas-backed Palestinian government," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement, despite the reassurance from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the unity government consist of technocrats who are not affiliated with a political party but still accept past agreements with Israel and also denounce terrorism.
The cabinet also authorized the prime minister to "impose further sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, and hold the Palestinian government responsible for any attacks against Israelis originating from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
During a previous meeting on Sunday night, the cabinet agreed to impose economic sanctions against the Palestinian government, and reallocate tax money that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian government to pay off the latter's debts to Israeli companies.
An official source said that the resolutions are rather lukewarm, and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has to be careful not to upset the international community by taking drastic moves, like the annexation of Jewish settlement areas in the West Bank or the massive settlement construction.
"Abbas is saying yes to terror and not peace," Netanyahu said on Monday afternoon following the cabinet meeting. "He has made a pact with Hamas (that was) responsible for the murder of more than 1,000 innocent Israelis (and) recognized as a terrorist organization in the United States, Europe and the rest of the world."
At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu urged the international community not to recognize the new government, saying the new Palestinian unity would "not strengthen peace but rather strengthen terrorism."
The Palestinian national unity government was sworn in on Monday before Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, which drew strong reactions from Israeli politicians, both right and left.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of far-right Jewish Home Party called it illegitimate. "The Palestinian agenda has smashed into the wall of reality today ... The time has come to shift from defense to offense and do what's good for Israel," he wrote on his Facebook page.
Hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said that Israel should react with actions instead of words.
The center-oriented Finance Minister Yair Lapid, on the other hand, urged Israeli politicians not to panic and overreact to the Palestinian move. "I urge my friends in the government and the Knesset (parliament) not to give Hamas the opportunity to turn the fire back at us just for the sake of a headline in the domestic political arena," he said. "We need time to evaluate the new government. Now is not the time for harsh criticism."
Chairwoman of the left-wing Meretz Party Zehava Gal-On said that the Palestinian unity government offers an opportunity to the Israeli government. "I call on the prime minister to see this reconciliation agreement as an opportunity to reach a diplomatic solution," she said.
"Netanyahu's objection to the unity government is an excuse intended to derail peace talks," she told the Ynet news website. " The demand that Abbas choose between Israel and Hamas once again portrays Israel as the side which refuses to give peace a chance."