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Barack Obama: Palestinian unity deal with Hamas unhelpful



by Joseph Earnest  April 25, 2014


Newscast Media WASHINGTONThe United States scrambled to salvage the already dying Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after Israel torpedoed the negotiations over its refusal to deal with a unified Palestinian political entity.  

President Barack Obama, whose administration dragged the two sides back to the negotiating table in July after a three-year hiatus, said on Friday that the recent Palestinian unity deal between former opponents Fatah and Hamas was "unhelpful" to the talks. 

Speaking in Seoul, Obama acknowledged the need for a "pause" in the talks but vowed he would not give up on Secretary of State John Kerry's peace push despite the latest setbacks. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the BBC that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas could "have peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas (but) he can't have both." 

The two sides have been on a collision course since March when Israel refused to release a batch of Palestinian prisoners in line with the U.S.-brokered agreement on resuming the talks. The Palestinians retaliated by applying to join 15 international treaties and then Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, listed conditions for talks beyond an April 29 deadline. 

Israel and the United States were hoping to extend the talks beyond the deadline as they have failed to achieve any concrete results so far. Abbas said he would agree to an extension if Israel freezes settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and annexes east Jerusalem, frees the prisoners and begins discussions on the future borders of a promised Palestinian state. 

Israel dismissed these conditions even as U.S. envoy Martin Indyk was holding a new meeting with Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in another bid to find common ground.

At the same time, the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestine Liberation Organization agreed to establish a "national consensus" government under Abbas within weeks. 

The reconciliation deal infuriated Israel whose security cabinet said Thursday it would "not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas." Add Comments>>


Source: Tehran Times











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