U.S.-mediated peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians may have officially ended two weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean John Kerry is done talking. The secretary of state is meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in London, Reuters reports, and on the docket is a discussion about “the U.S.-Palestinian relationship.” Specifically, the future of that relationship after last month’s unity agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which not only helped derail the long-floundering peace talks but also creates a major hindrance for any further U.S. involvement in peace talks—or, for that matter, U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority.
The focus of the talks is the U.S.-Palestinian relationship, the State Department said, a possible reference to whether Washington can keep funding the Palestinian Authority if it carries out a unity agreement with the Islamist Hamas faction.
While the moral implications of the unity agreement are, are my colleague Liel Leibovitz wrote last month, quite clear, the practical concerns of the alliance are another issue entirely.
The Administration must halt aid to the Palestinian Authority and condition any future assistance as leverage to force Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] to abandon this reconciliation with Hamas and to implement real reforms within the P.A.,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “U.S. law is clear on the prohibition of U.S. assistance to a unity Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and President Obama must not allow one cent of American taxpayer money to help fund this terrorist group.”
A lot is at stake for Thursday’s meeting, including the potential for any future U.S.-assisted peace talks.