Abbas addresses PLO panel over Palestinian unity, peace talks

Council in Ramallah set to review options in wake of Israel's suspension of peace talks over Hamas-Fatah reconciliation pact.

PLO Executive Committee (photo credit: REUTERS)
PLO Executive Committee
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met on Saturday morning with the PLO Central Council in Ramallah to discuss recent developments.
Abbas spoke with the policy-making body about the Hamas-Fatah unity deal and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The PLO was conducting crisis talks on Saturday and Sunday to review its options in the wake of Israel's announcement that it was suspending peace talks with the PA over the Palestinian reconciliation pact.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that Israel's seven-member security cabinet had unanimously decided to pause the diplomatic process just five day before the April 29 deadline for talks.
"Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen [Abbas] formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for Israel's destruction," Netanyahu said. "Abu Mazen formed an alliance with an organization whose covenant calls for Muslims to wage Jihad against Jews."
Hours after Jerusalem's decision, Obama administration officials expressed disappointment publicly and outrage privately at the timing and the manner with which Abbas chose to reconcile with Hamas.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his "disappointment" to Abbas in a morning phone call, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. While whispers of such a deal had been heard for weeks, the US team was caught "off guard" by the move, multiple US officials told The Jerusalem Post.
During the call, 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," Psaki told reporters of the phone call.
She reiterated, 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.
Herb Keinon and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.