Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas believes he can form a government with the Hamas terrorist group and still hold peace talks with Israel.
According to a statement quoted by Reuters, Abbas said on Wednesday that the unity pact he reached with Hamas earlier in the day did not contradict peace talks he is pursuing with Israel.
He added that an independent state living peacefully alongside Israel remained his goal.
In fact, according to the Xinhua news agency, Abbas further stated that the reconciliation deal with Hamas would “empower” the principle of the two-state solution.
The United States seemed to think differently than Abbas, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressing support Wednesday for Israel’s decision to cancel a planned session of peace talks with the PA over the deal with Hamas.
"It's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist," 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.
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.