April 24, 2014 -- New York -- AJC Executive Director David Harris called the announcement of a Palestinian unity government "a game-changer that sabotages Secretary of State John Kerry's valiant efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian two-state accord."
The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas sealed their latest effort at reconciliation in a pact to form a single, unified government and hold elections.
"If PA President Mahmoud Abbas's intention is to end peace talks with Israel and undercut the Palestinian Authority by jeopardizing the continuation of U.S. aid, then he can declare victory," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"Regrettably, Abbas has demonstrated, in word and deed, his rejection of calls to extend the current talks beyond the April 29 deadline," said Harris. "First, he announced that the Palestinians, acting unilaterally, would join 15 international bodies. Now he has partnered with Hamas, listed by both the U.S. and European Union as a terrorist group. As the U.S. State Department spokesperson said yesterday, Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a group that does not even recognize its very right to exist."
"Israel remains committed to working with Secretary Kerry to achieve a two-state deal, but once again, as in 2000-1 and 2008, the Palestinian leadership has squandered an historic opportunity for peace," Harris concluded. "That conclusion, sad as it may be, is simply inescapable."
David Harris is AJC Executive Director, Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director.