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Kerry Calls “Appropriate” Israeli Decision to Suspend Talks in Wake of Abbas-Hamas Deal

In an interview last night with Gwen Ifill of PBS NewsHour, Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israel’s decision to wait “to see what happens with the Hamas reconciliation” was “appropriate.”

Toward the end of the interview in which the Secretary addressed various foreign policy issues, Ifill asked him if he was disappointed with the failure to achieve peace in the Middle East. Kerry responded that he was disappointed that his diplomacy did not “produce the next step.” When he specifically addressed the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, Kerry said:

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel are waiting to see what happens with the Hamas reconciliation, with the announcement of a new government, with the question of what that new government may or may not choose to do. That’s an appropriate thing to be doing. We’re all waiting to see what happens.

Israel and the United States agree that Hamas is a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction. While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who agreed to the unity deal with Hamas, claimed last month that “that any unity government agreed with Hamas would recognize Israel,” senior members of Hamas have not agreed.

Ismail Haniyeh, one of Hamas’s top leaders, said two weeks ago, “We will not give up the weapon of resistance, and we will not forsake resistance.” The Times of Israel is reporting today that Abbas’s faction, Fatah, in nonetheless endorsing Haniyeh to be the speaker of the Palestinian legislature.

In The Big Hamas Elephant, published in the October 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine, Elhanan Miller observed, “Hamas is still determined to seize leadership of the Palestinian national movement from the Fatah regime in the West Bank.” In the December 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine, Jonathan Schanzer warned in We Really Need to Talk About Corruption, “Ignoring the issue of Palestinian governance is a mistake.”

[Photo: Cliff / Flickr ]