The government of Israel has broken off peace talks brokered by the United States. The decision by Israel came after Palestinian leaders said they had formed a unity pact with one of the leading terrorist groups against Israel. The move might be a fatal blow to the peacekeeping efforts of John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State.
The move by Israel came as a surprise and was the biggest sign to date that the nine months Kerry has performed personal diplomacy might all be for not. The talks faced a crucial deadline of the end of April.
The decision by Israel came one day after President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority disclosed plans to join Hamas in forming a new government. Hamas is the terrorist group that currently is in control of the Gaza Strip. The organization does not recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish state.
The unity pact was the first sign in seven years the two opposing factions are looking to join together.
A statement released by the office of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel said that peace talks had been set to start but anyone who chooses Hamas is not in search of peace.
Kerry, who is usually upbeat, sounded even more pessimistic following the announcement made by Israel late Thursday, but insisted he still maintained hope that peace could be reached if the leaders of the Palestinian and Israel can work out a compromise.
Kerry talked on Thursday with Abbas telling the leader he became disappointed after hearing of the prospect of an alliance between Hamas and Fatah.
Experts in the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel said the latest development could be the final nail in the coffin for the peacemaking effort that was jump started in 2013 by Kerry and kept going personally by the top U.S. diplomat through over a dozen trips to the Middle East.
His goal was to establish an independent state for the Palestinian on the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the Middle East War of 1967.
The agreement between Hamas and Fatah gave opponents of the peace talks an easy excuse to walk away. It also could mean aid will be cut off to the Palestinian Authority due to Hamas being considered a terrorist organization.