News / Middle East

Israel Suspends Peace Talks With Palestinians

Israel Suspends Peace Talks in Response to Palestinian Unity Plani
April 25, 2014 4:13 AM
Israel on Thursday suspended peace negotiations with the Palestinians in response to a plan by Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas to reconcile and form a unity government. These developments further complicate U.S. efforts to mediate a peace deal between the two sides. VOA's Mike Richman has more.
Watch related video from VOA's Mike Richman.
Robert Berger
The Middle East peace process is in danger of collapse, following a reconciliation pact between rival Palestinian factions and a tough Israeli response.  

Israel’s Security Cabinet decided to suspend peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, after it agreed to form a unity government with the rival Islamic militant group Hamas.

Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas rules the West Bank, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.

Israel has been holding peace talks with Abbas for nine months, but Hamas supports armed struggle to liberate all of Palestine and says negotiations are a waste of time.

“Hamas does not change its very hardline positions," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.  "Hamas is stuck in a very extremist, terrorist mode.  And as the result, if Hamas is now part of the Palestinian government, we will not talk to people who say the State of Israel must be destroyed.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier criticized the announcement, saying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who represents Fatah, is complicating ongoing peace talks.

"Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he is moving into peace with Hamas and he has to choose.  Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel.  You can have one, but not the other," he said.

Netanyahu called Hamas a "murderous terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel."   Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas a terror group.

Fatah officials say reconciliation is an internal Palestinian affair and it reflects the will of the people.  Palestinian Cabinet minister Hisham Abdel Razek believes a unity government would actually advance the peace process.

Abdel Razek told Israel Radio that Hamas would have to accept the policies of President Abbas, which is a negotiated peace based on a two-state solution.

Palestinian reactions

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says he was not surprised by the Israeli response.

"The Israeli position was expected. This is occupation, and absolutely they do not want the Palestinian people to be united and want the division to continue," he said.

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti said the reaction by Netanyahu was "very strange."

"When we are divided, Mr. Netanyahu claims that he can not find a Palestinian that can represent all Palestinians and thus he cannot make peace and when we are united he claims that he cannot make peace with a unified Palestinian front," he said. "In my opinion it is Mr. Netanyahu that is the problem, it is his extreme government that is the problem. Mr. Netanyahu has chosen settlements over peace."

Hamas and Fatah split violently in 2007, and have since divided their people between two sets of rulers.

It remains unclear how this plan would succeed where past attempts have repeatedly failed.  It also adds new complications to U.S. efforts to mediate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

US disappointed

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington is "disappointed" by the announcement, and she warned it could seriously complicate peace efforts.  

She said, "It is hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist."

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Comment Sorting
by: Broilee S. from: Germany
April 25, 2014 12:18 PM
I have noticed something very interesting lately (actually it was pointed out to me by a Professor) the ugly caricatures of WW2 depicting Jews... do not look like Jews at all... they look like Arabs!!! the hateful caricatures of WW2 actually depict Arabs.
In Response

by: Svetlana from: Russia
April 25, 2014 1:58 PM
excellent point, Broilee. and very true indeed. Jews are predominately very White with dark hair. The ugly caricatures you see in Pre War German Anti-Semitic propaganda bears no resemblance to actual Jews - who many consider beautiful and aesthetically very appealing. The caricatures are actually a distorted stereotype of Arabs. But the caricatures were a powerful propaganda tool at the early and limited age of Mass Media - so people did not know how distorted and incorrect they were.

by: abdi from: ethiopia
April 25, 2014 7:41 AM
this a good progress and example for Arabs but they accept israeli as a nation and negociate

by: Hoda from: Canada
April 24, 2014 5:20 PM
Dear Dr Badlawi, I saw your interview on AlJazeera - excellent insight into the "Arab Mentality" - My father is a Jordanian refugee and he had said the same thing to me. My father has been living in Canada for the past 30 years and he hates the "West" with a passion only Arabs know - why do you think it is..?? he could have easily become a terrorist against the Country that gave him refuge..!!!
In Response

by: Fren DeBoux from: Canada
April 25, 2014 6:12 PM
this is despicable..!! you say that your own father - a Jordanian refugee to Canada could have easily become a terrorist against the country that gave him refuge..??!! what sort of distorted mentality do Arabs have..?? We must stop importing these scumbags into our country. I am really afraid for my children and family

by: Dr. Badlawi from: Jordan
April 24, 2014 2:56 PM
as i said before, the Arabs of Gaza are not going to be friendly to the Arabs of the west bank. in fact the two groups hate each other. you see, these are very different peoples. the Arabs of Gaza are essentially Egyptians, and the Arabs of the West Bank are Jordanians. so, sectarianism is dominating what we call "Philistines Authority.." but no Arab feels allegiance to this squalid and corrupt "authority". Islam does not recognize "government" - we are sectarian people, if you don't know that about us you know nothing about us.
In Response

by: Joe Public OU812 from: USA
April 24, 2014 5:15 PM
So you are a Jordanian and say you have no allegiance to any government? You are not going to be friendly to anyone from
Gaza? Do you wonder if you can not make peace with the Arab
community in Gaza, if it will ever be possible to make peace with
a Jew?

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