Tags: Israel | Middle East | israel | palestinian | talks

Palestinians, Israelis Trade Barbs as US Seeks to Revive Talks

Sunday, 06 Apr 2014 06:34 AM

JERUSALEM  — Palestinian and Israeli officials accused each other of sabotaging peace talks before meeting a U.S. envoy in an attempt to get foundering negotiations back on track.

Senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio that the sides haven’t made progress on resolving disputes that have caused U.S.-sponsored peace efforts to stumble. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat asked in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio if it was “a crime” to seek the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands Israel captured in the 1967 war.

“If it’s a crime for me to ask the Israeli government to say that we want to achieve two states” based on 1967 lines, “what am I doing with you? What are you negotiating to achieve?” Erekat asked.

Palestinian and Israeli officials are to meet today with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk in a bid to salvage the talks, whose future was thrown in doubt last week after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would consult with President Barack Obama on whether to continue them.

The talks hit an impasse after Israel delayed carrying out the last of four promised releases of Palestinian prisoners. The Palestinians responded by seeking more international recognition of a de facto state the United Nations General Assembly recognized in 2012.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed in July to negotiate for nine months, ending April 29. Kerry, who had aspired to achieve a final peace accord by that date, has scaled back his ambitions to keeping talks alive beyond the end of the month.

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel accused the Palestinians of “crudely violating” the terms of the talks by applying to join 15 international treaties. Israel should break off negotiations over these “unilateral moves,” said Ariel, whose Jewish Home party opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The chairman of Jewish Home, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, said Israel is preparing war crimes charges against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, over the transfer of money to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the “financing of terrorists and murderers themselves.” Abbas’s authority holds sway in the West Bank.

The Justice Ministry had no immediate comment when asked whether such a move was being planned.

Rocket fire at Israel has intensified in recent weeks from Gaza, whose governing Hamas group is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and European Union. Israeli aircraft struck targets in Gaza overnight in response.

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Palestinian and Israeli officials accused each other of sabotaging peace talks before meeting a U.S. envoy in an attempt to get foundering negotiations back on track.
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2014-34-06
Sunday, 06 Apr 2014 06:34 AM
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