Is­rael PM Ne­tanyahu curbs con­tacts with Pales­tini­ans

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has told his min­is­ters to stop high-level meet­ings with their Pales­tinian coun­ter­parts.

The or­der fol­lows “Pales­tini­ans’ vi­o­la­tion of their com­mit­ments un­der peace talks”, of­fi­cials said.

It comes af­ter a re­quest by the Pales­tini­ans to join 15 UN treaties and con­ven­tions as a state party.

Cor­re­spon­dents say Mr Ne­tanyahu’s ac­tion has dealt an­other blow to the fal­ter­ing US-bro­kered peace process.

The govern­ment of­fi­cials said Is­rael’s chief peace ne­go­tia­tor, Tzipi Livni, would be an ex­cep­tion from the PM’s edict. De­fence and se­cu­rity of­fi­cials will also be al­lowed to con­tinue to en­gage with the Pales­tini­ans, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

Other­wise, only low-level co-oper­a­tion will be per­mit­ted. On Tues­day, the US Sec­re­tary of State, John Kerry, said the US would con­tinue to pro­mote the talks de­spite re­cent set­backs.

He blamed both sides for tak­ing “un­help­ful” steps.

The peace talks re­sumed in July un­der US aus­pices af­ter a three-year hia­tus.

The Pales­tini­ans were fu­ri­ous when Is­rael did not sanc­tion the re­lease of a fourth batch of pris­on­ers, as agreed in prin­ci­ple un­der the terms on which the Pales­tini­ans re­turned to peace talks last year. The Pales­tini­ans wanted the group to in­clude a num­ber of Is­raeli Arab pris­on­ers.

They were fur­ther an­gered by Is­rael’s ap­proval of about 700 new set­tle­ment units in East Jerusalem.

Is­rael cap­tured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mid­dle East war and for­mally an­nexed the area in 1980. BBC

Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said that for the most part, only lowlevel co­op­er­a­tion could con­tinue, ac­cord­ing to re­ports

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