Israel suspends peace talks with Palestinians

Israel has suspended peace talks with the Palestinians in response to the Hamas and PLO unity deal.

Lack of commitment could force US out of peace talks

by - Middle East Correspondent
A Palestinian man uses a sling to hurl a stone towards Israeli troops during clashes earlier this month. Credit: Reuters

There is only a peace process at all at the moment, because it is attached to an American life support machine. The US Secretary of State John Kerry has been to the Middle East more than a dozen times in the last nine months, trying to push the sides closer towards to an agreement.

We know Mr Kerry has spoken to President Abbas expressing his dissappointment with the Hamas deal. Kerry has expressed his frustration over the situation quite openly in the last few months with what he sees as a lack of commitment on both sides to a peace agreement.

The big fear is that he will decide enough is enough and he will turn off that life support machine and widespread violence will follow.

More: Israel will 'not hold negotiations with a terror group'

Israel will 'not hold negotiations with a terror group'

Benjamin Netanyahu Credit: Reuters

In the wake of a Palestinian unity deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would never negotiate with a Palestinian government "backed by a terrorist organization" committed to Israel's destruction.

"The government of Israel will not hold negotiations with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas, a terror organisation that calls for Israel's destruction," he is quoted as saying in an official government release.

More: Israel suspends talks over Palestinian unity deal

Advertisement

PLO and Hamas agree to Palestinian reconciliation

Palestinians hold national flags as they celebrate after an announcement of a reconciliation agreement. Credit: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation have announced a unity pact, President Mahmoud Abbas has said.

The move has widened divisions in US-brokered peace-talks with Israel.

Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed (L) speaks with head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh. Credit: Reuters

The reconciliation comes after seven years of internal bickering within the Palestinian groups and raises the possibility of a unity government and national elections within six months.

However, Israel has criticised the deal, saying that President Abbas has chosen "Hamas over peace" and cancelled a session of peace talks in Jerusalem.

More: John Kerry joins Middle East peace talks