The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday said it supported Israel’s decision to suspend peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
In a statement, the ADL said that the suspension was fully justified in light of the unity pact between the PA and Hamas.
“With its embrace of Hamas, a terrorist organization which unabashedly continues to call for the destruction of the State of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority apparently have once again turned their back on peace and reconciliation,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
“The international community has set three criteria which Hamas must meet prior to any international engagement: recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce the use of violence and terrorism, and accept previously negotiated Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas has met none of these requirements, and there is no indication that it intends to do so,” he added.
“The timing of the Palestinian Authority-Hamas agreement is particularly telling, coming just days before the April 29 deadline of the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations. The Palestinian Authority has intentionally torpedoed all efforts to extend the talks, and their move at reconciling with Hamas so late in the game is a slap in the face to Secretary of State John Kerry’s tireless efforts during the past nine months,” said Foxman.
“Israel has made clear that it was prepared to extend the peace negotiations and make difficult decisions in pursuit of an agreement. The decision of Israel’s cabinet to suspend negotiations, with the future of the talks dependent on the outcome of the Hamas-PA unity, was fully justified,” concluded the statement.
Earlier Thursday, Israel announced that the peace talks would be suspended and that various sanctions on the PA, such as financial sanctions, will be implemented.
After the decision was announced, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told foreign media outlets that he will not negotiate with the PA so long as it is part of a unity government with Hamas.
"As long as I'm prime minister of Israel, I will never negotiate with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas terrorists that are calling for our liquidation," Netanyahu told the BBC.
He made clear that Abbas could "have peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas - he can't have both", and declared that Israel would only resume peace talks with the PA "when they decide to abandon the course of terror."
Meanwhile, Abbas said on Thursday evening that there was no need for Israel to halt talks and impose sanctions on the PA, because the deal with Hamas does not contradict any previous agreements with Israel, nor does it obviate the basic principles of negotiations.
The PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, blamed Israel for the failure of the peace talks.
"Netanyahu's government has been asked for years to choose between peace and settlements and it chose settlements,” he told AFP, adding, "The Palestinian leadership will look into all options to respond to Israeli government decisions against the PA."