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Kerry: 'We Will Never Give Up Hope' on Peace Talks

Kerry admits talks at a 'difficult point' after PA-Hamas unity deal leads to talk suspension, adds 'there's always a way forward.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 4/24/2014, 10:26 PM

John Kerry
John Kerry
Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the suspension of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) nine months ago on Thursday, calling for "compromises" from both sides.

"There's always a way forward, but the leaders have to make the compromises to do that... if they're not willing to make the compromises necessary it becomes very elusive," Kerry said Thursday night.

Kerry, whose peace talks are set to expire on an April 29 deadline, acknowledged the talks have reached "a difficult point," reports AFP.

"We will never give up our hope or our commitment for the possibilities of peace. We believe it is the only way to go, but right now obviously it's at a very difficult point, and the leaders themselves have to make decisions," said Kerry.

"It's up to them," concluded the American secretary of state.

The Israeli decision to suspend talks and place financial sanctions on the PA Thursday came on the heels of a PA-Hamas unity deal, which was reached on Wednesday.

"Whoever chooses the terrorism of Hamas doesn't want peace," declared Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after suspending the talks.

Netanyahu noted that Hamas's "covenant calls for Muslims to fight and kill Jews. Hamas has fired more than 10,000 missiles and rockets at Israeli territory and has not halted terrorist actions against Israel even for a minute."

Kerry's even-handed call for "compromise" from both Israel and the PA seems to be a step back from State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki's criticism of the PA on Wednesday following the unity 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," said Psaki.

While the appraisal of Hamas is accurate, it is worth noting that the PA has brought talks to a dead-end by consistently refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.