State Dept: Israel, PA Made 'Unhelpful' Steps

United States lays the blame on both Israel and the PA for failure of peace talks, says efforts to salvage them will continue.

Elad Benari ,

John Kerry, Jen Psaki at right (file)
John Kerry, Jen Psaki at right (file)

The United States said on Thursday that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have taken “unhelpful steps” during the peace process, but stressed that the efforts to salvage the talks will continue.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that “there have been unhelpful steps from both sides throughout this process, whether it’s settlements or the UN or whatever it may be. So they are both – they have both been guilty of that.”

“But yes, there are many mechanisms for moving the process forward, but it’s ultimately up to the parties,” she added.

Earlier Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the suspension of peace talks between Israel and the PA, 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.

He stressed, however, "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.”

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

On Wednesday, after the deal was announced, Psaki voiced criticism of the PA, saying, "It's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

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.