The Israeli government says it has decided to halt peace talks with the Palestinians in response to yesterday's unity agreement between rival Palestinian factions, abruptly ending the nine-month peace initiative brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry. The negotiating period had been set to end next Tuesday, though both sides had been trying to agree to an extension.
Israel's Security Cabinet unanimously decided to cut off contacts after a five-hour meeting today. It announced the decision in a statement sent to journalists. Israel is furious over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to form a unity government with the rival Hamas movement after a seven-year rift. Israel and the West consider Hamas a terrorist group.