U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Jewish advisors” are to blame for the impasse in the peace talks, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority (PA) government claimed on Tuesday.
Speaking to the PA-based Safa news agency, Sufian Abu Zaida, a senior member of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, said, “All the members of the U.S. delegation to the negotiations are Jews, except for Kerry, and they seek to implement Israel’s goals.”
It was unclear who Abu Zaida was referring to, but he may have meant Martin Indyk, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who has served as President Barack Obama’s envoy to the peace talks.
The comments come hours after Abbas breached the conditions of the peace talks by signing a request to join several UN agencies, using the fact that Israel has delayed the release of the fourth tranche of terrorists as an excuse for the move.
Abbas obligated himself to refrain from such unilateral moves for international recognition during the course of the peace talks, restarted last July.
The unilateral move by the PA effectively torpedoes the peace talks, which were set to continue until April 29, and which have been stalling of late amid Abbas's consistent refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
As usual, the PA blamed Israel for the impasse. Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, accused Israel of causing Kerry’s efforts to fail, saying that the failure was due to Israel’s “evading the agreement to release the fourth group of veteran prisoners.”
Abu Rudeineh accused Israel of thwarting the Oslo Accords because of its “wild settlement policy”, the latest manifestation of which was the publishing of tenders for 700 new housing units in Jerusalem.
"The international bodies, and particularly the United States, must exert pressure on the Israeli government and force it to comply with its obligations regarding the release of the fourth group of veteran prisoners," he said.
On Tuesday evening, as Abbas signed the request to join 15 international organizations, Kerry cancelled a planned meeting with the PA Chairman.
He later clarified, however, that it was too early to declare that the peace efforts have officially failed.
"It is completely premature tonight to draw...any final judgement about today's events and where things are," Kerry said at a press conference in Brussels. "This is a moment to be really clear-eyed and sober about this process."