The European Union was cautious in its responses to the formation of the new Palestinian unity government Saturday. An announcement released by Germany, current President of the Council of the European Union, said that renewal of Europe's direct aid to the PA would depend on an assessment of the new cabinet's platform and actions.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the Palestinians were looking forward to a unified European position "towards ending the political, financial and economic siege of the Palestinian government and people".
The United States said it was disturbed by the new Palestinian government's claim of a right to resist Israel and disappointed with a speech on Saturday by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh expressing that right.
"Resistance in all its forms, including popular resistance to occupation, is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people," said Haniyeh.
"The national unity government's platform reference to the right of resistance is disturbing and contradicts the Quartet principles of renunciation of violence," US State Department spokeswoman Nancy Beck said.
Israel was working diligently throughout the weekend in an effort to ensure that the sanctions on the PA cabinet remain intact until the unity government decides to accept the demands of the Quartet: Recognize Israel, renounce violence, and honor prior agreements.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke to several of her European counterparts Saturday. She emphasized Israel's standpoint whereby the unity government was regarded as one entity and Israel would not differentiate between Hamas and Fatah members.
"Money meant for Fatah would no doubt end up in the hands of Hamas," she said.
Accepting the new government
But not everyone was convinced. Norway, where Israel and the PLO secretly negotiated their first peace accord in the early 1990s, was the first to say they would cooperate with the new Hamas-Fatah administration.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere praised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to form the new government. He said that Norway was restoring full political and economic ties with the Palestinians.
France has invited new Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr to Paris.
Britain Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said: "I welcome President Abbas' continued efforts at intra-Palestinian reconciliation, which have led to agreement on the forming of a National Unity Government.
"We will judge the Government by its platform and actions and respond accordingly. As Britain has made clear, we have always been willing to work with a government based on the Quartet principles. We will also continue supporting the Palestinian people, including through continued funding of the Temporary International Mechanism.
"I welcome the ongoing dialogue between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas. I hope the National Unity Government will support President Abbas in taking this process forward. The peace process will only move forward through constructive dialogue," she concluded.
Reuters contributed to the report