Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday said that he was not surprised by the crisis in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
His comments came after efforts to extend the talks reached an impasse on Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deciding to formally apply for full membership in 15 international organizations.
Abbas's decision led US Secretary of State John Kerry to cancel a Wednesday visit to the region in which he aimed to finalize a deal which would have seen the Palestinians agree to extend the talks in exchange for Israel releasing a fourth batch of 26 Palestinian security prisoners as well as 400 additional prisoners of Israel's choosing. As part of the deal Israel would also agree to a partial settlement freeze and the United States would agree to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from prison.
Referencing the schism between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah, Haniyeh said that the peace talks could not have succeeded, as they were "outside the Palestinian consensus."
Speaking at a military graduation ceremony for Hamas security forces in Gaza, Haniyeh said that the Palestinians could not reach a deal and reconcile with Israeli occupation, the tightening of the siege of Gaza and the Judaization of Jerusalem. He called for the "Arab and Islamic nation to take action to end the occupation and end the siege of Gaza."
Haniyeh said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had voiced his commitment to making Israel end the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Erdogan's vow came during a phone conversation on Tuesday in which Haniyeh congratulated the Turkish leader on his AK Party's victories in Sunday's municipal elections in the country.
Erdogan has stated in the past that an end to the blockade of Gaza was a condition for his agreement to normalize ties with Israel which were severed after the May 2010 raid of the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship, in which Israeli naval commandos killed nine Gaza-bound pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.
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