Sec. Kerry to Meet with P.A.'s Abbas
JERUSALEM, Israel -- A little more than two weeks after U.S.-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down, Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas in London this week.
According to U.S. State Department spokesman Jan Psaki, the focus of Thursday's meeting will be the relationship between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority.
"While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians," Psaki said in a statement issued Monday. "As he has throughout the process, Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful."
The April 23 announcement of reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, and the projected establishment of a unity government within five weeks prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suspend Israel's participation in the negotiations.
"Following the decision by the Palestinian government to forge an alliance with Hamas, an organization that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, we have decided to suspend all the negotiations with the Palestinians," Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev said in a statement. "They cannot say they are a peace partner if they are embracing the most violent and extreme enemies of peace."
Thursday's meeting will likely include discussion on future U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.
By law, the U.S. may not provide funding for Hamas, which it designates a terror organization, "or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence."
Last week, senior Hamas officials Khaled Meshaal and Mahmoud al-Zahar said joining a unity government would not change their ideology.
"Our path is resistance and the rifle and our choice is jihad ["holy" war]," Meshaal said. "There is no past or future without jihad and resistance. Jihad is our path."