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U.S. Backs Israel's Move to Cancel Talks with PA

State Department says Israel can't be expected "to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/24/2014, 1:16 AM

John Kerry, Jen Psaki at right
John Kerry, Jen Psaki at right
Reuters

The United States on Wednesday expressed support for Israel’s decision to cancel a planned session of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in the wake of an announced Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal.

"It's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, according to AFP.

She added that any Palestinian government must commit "unambiguously" to the principles of non-violence and to Israel's existence.

The deal between Hamas and Fatah aims to put an end to a long and bloody rivalry, which boiled over seven years ago when Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to issue a "presidential decree" announcing the dates for elections, which PA officials said would likely take place within the next six months.

Meanwhile in Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday evening that he would be convening the inner diplomacy-security cabinet Thursday morning, to discuss the agreement between Fatah and Hamas and whether or not to continue contacts with the PA.

Earlier Wednesday evening, Netanyahu called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had pushed the sides back to the negotiating table back in July, and presented Israel's position regarding Hamas-Fatah deal.

Netanyahu told Kerry that the pact “shows that the Palestinians are repeating a familiar pattern” of “running away from decisions.”

He repeated his public statement to the effect that “whoever makes peace with Hamas cannot make peace with Israel.”

On Tuesday, Abbas repeated his threats to disband the PA if peace talks remain stuck, and also demanded a three-month Israeli construction freeze as a condition for talks to continue.