Coalition with Hamas will recognize Israel, Abbas tells Kerry

With formation of unity gov't, Abbas's commitment to Kerry would require Hamas to publicly denounce own charter.

April 25, 2014 21:56
1 minute read.

US Secretary of State John Kerry with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON -- On a phone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday evening, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that a unity government between Fatah and Hamas would renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel.

Abbas insisted that "any government that is formed will be his government and represent his policies," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters of their phone call.

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Psaki repeated, however, that no action had yet been taken to form such a government - that multiple attempts to unify the two parties have been made in the past, to no avail.

Historically, Hamas has refused to adopt either of those principles. The Islamic Resistance Front has codified its intention to destroy Israel in its charter, and is listed by the United States, European Union and Israel as a terrorist organization.

For US aid to continue to the Palestinian Authority, appropriations law from Congress requires "all ministers" in a power-sharing government that includes Hamas declare Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and accept previous agreements between Israel and the PLO.

Should a unity government form, Abbas' commitment to Kerry would require Hamas leadership publicly denounce their own charter.

"This is a moment of transition, and part of the process," Psaki said of the state of the talks, now suspended by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's cabinet after the Palestinians announced reconciliation. "We're in a holding pattern where parties need to figure out what's next."

Psaki said the US remains committed to peace between the two parties, though would not commit Kerry to the same level of involvement he has displayed over nine months of talks.

Those talks officially end April 29, though no progress is expected between now and then.

"We're heading to Africa on the 29th," Psaki said. "So that is what the Secretary will be doing that day."

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