Michael Oren: Unity deal 'delivered victory to terrorism'

In LA Times op-ed, envoy to US says peace process can be revived if int'l community upholds criteria of no terror and recognition of Israel.

Michael Oren pose 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Michael Oren pose 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The unity deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is a "devastating blow to peace," Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times.
Oren said that while the world welcomed the death of Osama bin Laden, the unity pact "delivered a potent victory to terrorism."
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It also harms the progress made in Palestinian state-building and economic development achieved by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, whom Hamas "bitterly" opposes, Oren wrote.
The Israeli ambassador stated that Israel does not oppose Palestinian unity, rather "we want to negotiate with a Palestinian leadership that speaks for its people in both the West Bank and Gaza."
"But can Israel regard as negotiating partners those who speak of its destruction?" Oren asked in the op-ed.
Despite the "devastating blow" to the peace process, Oren said "there are still ways to revive it."
For one, the international community "can uphold the criteria for participation in the process: no terror, recognition of Israel and acceptance of all previous accords," Oren noted.
Additionally, Oren wrote, "Any attempt to establish a Palestinian state unilaterally must be resisted and Palestinian leaders urged to return to — and remain at — the negotiating table."
Oren concluded by saying that "The Palestinians, along with many Middle East peoples, are at a crossroads. One path turns backward to intolerance and conflict, while the other advances toward freedom and coexistence."