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Opinion

Israel suspends peace talks with Palestinian Authority after Hamas deal

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,Israel,Benjamin Netanyahu,Palestinians,Hamas,Palestinian Authority

Secretary of State John Kerry recently blamed the Israelis for the lack of progress in peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, but Israel ended the negotiations after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas agreed to form a government with a terrorist organization determined to destroy the Jewish state.

“I said this morning that Abbas needs to choose between peace with Israel and an agreement with Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and which both the United States and the European Union define as a terrorist organization,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters Thursday.

The decision comes weeks after Kerry blamed the Israelis for fouling up the negotiations. "Unfortunately, prisoners were not released on the Saturday they were supposed to be released," he said during a Senate hearing earlier this month. "And so day [one] went by, day two went by, day three went by. And then in the afternoon, when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem and, poof, that was sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are."

Israel refused to release the last quarter of 104 prisoners after the Palestinians refused to commit to continuing negotiations, according to the Washington Post.

The State Department has a more benign view of Israel's latest position. "[I]t's hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist," spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday, before the Israeli government had formally ended the talks.

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