U.S. Backed Israeli Refusal to Negotiate With Hamas, Official Says

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

An Israeli official has said that, long before the Palestinian unity pact, the United States made an explicit commitment to back Israel’s position that it will not negotiate with any government with Hamas, even if is composed of apolitical technocratic figures.

The official told The New York Times Israel had received “a specific commitment from the American administration” during President Barack Obama’s first term in office that was reaffirmed since his re-election. But he would not say whether the assurance had been given by the president himself or if it was in writing.

Also on Tuesday, as the expiration date for Washington’s nine-month deadline for reaching a peace deal passed, Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas gave yet more reason for pessimism of any resumption of negotiations in the near future.

There can be no peace with Israel without first defining the borders of a future Palestinian state, he said.

“We are determined to know our borders and theirs, without that there will be no peace,” he said.

In the U.S., Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said he will introduce legislation that would cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority unless its government recognized Israel as a Jewish state, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

Paul, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said his proposal was in response to the interim governance agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

He said he would introduce the legislation if there is no such statement after five weeks, the projected date for establishment of the interim Palestinian government ahead of elections.

“In the absence of such a clear, unambiguous statement on the part of the newly unified Palestinian government, the United States should act to enforce the law and cut off aid to the Palestinian government until they recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Paul said, referring to a law banning the distribution of funds to any Hamas-affiliated entity.