Five days before the scheduled end of the current round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the security cabinet decided Thursday to suspend the talks and efforts to extend them past the April 29 deadline.
The decision, coming at the end of a seven hour discussion in Tel Aviv, comes in reaction to Wednesday's Palestinian announcement of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.
According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister's Office, the cabinet also decided to take unspecified steps against unilateral moves by the Palestinians.
The decision was unanimous.
"Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for Israel's destruction," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said. "Abu Mazen formed an alliance with an organization whose covenant calls for Muslims to wage Jihad against Jews."
Netanyahu said that Hamas has fired more than 10,000 missiles and rockets on Israel, and has never stopped "for a minute" its terrorist actions against Israel.
Pointing out that the new Fatah-Hamas pact was signed even as efforts were being made to keep the negotiations going, Netanyahu said this was a direct continuation of the Palestinian refusal to move forward on the current track.
Last month, Netanyahu said, Abbas refused the framework agreement proposed by the United States, refused to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and then applied – in contravention to the understandings that led to the current round of talks – to 15 international treaties and conventions.
"And then," Netanyahu said, "he signed an accord with Hamas. Anyone who chooses the terror of Hamas does not want peace."