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Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet on crisis-hit peace talks
Published Monday 14/04/2014 (updated) 16/04/2014 13:48
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Palestinians throw stones at Israeli security forces during clashes
in the center of the West Bank town of Hebron on April 11, 2014
(AFP/File Hazem Bader)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A three-hour meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held without the presence of US envoy Martin Indyk on Sunday ended without clear signs of progress.

PLO sources told Ma'an that Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni demanded that the Palestinians withdraw their applications for international treaties because the Israelis considered it a unilateral step.

The demand was rejected by the Palestinians who also refused to freeze the application -- "refusing to even consider it," said one source -- and adding that there was no turning back.

The Palestinian team, led by Saeb Erekat and Majed Farraj, demanded a complete freeze of settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as an initial condition before discussing other issues.

The Palestinian team also demanded the release of a fourth group of veteran prisoners, without the option of exiling them, the sources said.

There was no immediate word from the Israeli side, which observes the seven-day Jewish holidays of Passover from sunset on Monday.

A Palestinian source close to the talks said a new meeting between the negotiators was set for Tuesday or Wednesday evening, with US envoy Martin Indyk due to attend.

Indyk, who presided over a meeting last Thursday, has since returned to Washington for consultations but is due to return on Tuesday, the source added.

The peace process has since last week suffered a new blow when Israel said it would freeze the transfer of duties it collects on the Palestinians' behalf, in retaliation for their diplomatic offensive against Israel at the United Nations.

The monthly $111 million in taxes collected by Israel represents about two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority's income.

Israel also reportedly plans to suspend its participation with the Palestinians in developing a gas field off the Gaza Strip and to put a cap on Palestinian deposits in its banks.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in a meeting with ambassadors posted in Tel Aviv on Sunday, blamed the Palestinians for the rapid deterioration in the peace process.

"We were very close to an agreement with the Palestinians, a complex transaction which was being examined by the (Israeli) cabinet, but at the last moment the Palestinians broke their promises and submitted applications" to join international treaties, he charged.

"We are ready to discuss and negotiate but we will not accept unilateral steps," Lieberman said.

A senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, said the Palestinians still had "several options" and would not be deterred.

"Israel's sanctions will not deter Palestinian steps to join international treaties and organizations," he said, quoted by the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The Israeli reprisals have sparked concern in Washington.

"We've seen these press reports, but we have not seen an official public announcement by the government of Israel," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday.

"That said, we would regard such a development as unfortunate.

"We believe that the regular transfer of the Palestinian Authority's tax revenues and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been beneficial and is important to the well-being of the Palestinian economy."

The talks hit an impasse two weeks ago when Israel refused to release as agreed a group of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinians retaliated by seeking accession to several international treaties.

AFP contributed to this report.
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1 ) Demands & / Dead-Ends
14/04/2014 02:24
-1- The PA demands a settlement freeze and a prisoner release, and Israel demands Palestinians withdraw their international applications, and Finally The Road has reached another Nowhere Dead-End, where -2- Palestine will have a bunch of useless, or self-damaging treaties, and Israel will withhold taxes collected for the PA, and anything else it deems appropriate !!

2 ) Tobias / USA
14/04/2014 03:09
Another settlement freeze has been off the table for years, since the PA never gave what it promised in return, and Another prisoner release was pulled off the table, since the PA planned its unilateral UN actions anyway, and after their actions, Another prisoner release will never be put on the table, and These things that Palestinians demand are now and forever impossible, due to Palestinian actions and broken promises, which means that - CREATING A PALESTINIAN STATE IS IMPOSSIBLE.

3 ) Outlier / USA
14/04/2014 03:21
Negotiate is the art of give and take. Palestinians have stated what they will take. Now they should state what they will give.

4 ) very symbolic-they / met in the
14/04/2014 07:49
WHITE HOUSE!

5 ) tsfardea / UK
14/04/2014 09:27
So Abu Mazen keeps up the masquerade of striving for Palestinian independence and staying in the talking shop for two purposes: It keeps him in power by dint of international recognition, and donations continue to roll in to feed his corrupt regime and cover the payroll of his security force. Not much is left to trickle down to the ordinary Palestinian family.

6 ) Not to worry / 100,000,000
14/04/2014 10:05
euros are coming every month from the ARAB LEAGUE!!

7 ) Rami / Palestine
14/04/2014 10:07
I'm curious if the Israeli government considers legalizing outposts or declaring entire Palestinian villages as "closed military zone" as "unilateral steps."

8 ) Rami / Palestine
14/04/2014 12:32
#1 There is nothing "useless" or "self-damaging" in demanding the recognition of your human rights and all that come with such recognition. However, there IS something very toxic and "self-damaging" in Israel's demand that Palestinians give up their rights as human beings in order to be eligible for one-sided talks in which Israel will refuse to discuss refugee, Jerusalem, borders and settlements.

9 ) Rami-7 / \ Tibi/Tubas
14/04/2014 16:04
1- Israel is done giving something real for more empty promises, and Palestine has nothing more to give, so Peace/Statehood talks are Over, which leaves a permanent situation of 2- Israel using tear-gas & rubber-bullets against stone-throwers in the W. Bank, and rockets, & tanks against the Islamic militants of Gaza, and Palestine resisting, without any real sovereignty beyond the PLO's Area A, and Hamas' Gaza Strip, and a bunch of useless UN treaties & resolutions, as a "non-member state".

10 ) Mel / USA
15/04/2014 16:06
"Progress"? That must mean the colonial-kept PA Bantustan'Chiefs'of Ramallah,are Wwilling to cede ALL of Palestine &leave millions of Pals,in a GULAG,cut off from global view by concrete JimCrow walls? NO! NEGOTIATING with racist bigots determined to kill all'others'is not an option! Never give in! Never sacrifice what is Palestine. "...else you (formally)recognize the false superiority of your oppressors"(MLK Jnr).Negotiation=collaboration with Judeo-Nazism! Nein danke!

11 ) Rami / Palestine
16/04/2014 13:37
#9 Israel prides itself on empty promises. Well, empty promises and dead children. Israel is quite good at the latter too. Israel is like the kid that waited until the last day when a final report was due and instead of turning it in, cried to the teacher that he needed more time to write it. So I guess Israel is the Jeff Spicoli of Peace Negotiations.

12 ) @ Rami-11 / Facts & Truth
19/04/2014 16:42
This is how I remember the situation: - Israel gave "a 10-month building freeze" (at great expense), to the PA so that it would negotiate, but - The PA did Not Negotiate for the first 9 months at all, and next - The PA negotiated, for only 1 week (of the last month) in Amman, and only after intense US pressure, so - Palestinians are "the kid that waited until the last day when a final report was due and instead of turning it in, cried to the teacher that he needed more time to write it".

13 ) @ Rami-11 / Too Late 4 More Time
20/04/2014 03:42
-1- The PA said it "needed More Time", And More Time, And Then More Prisoners, And More Land, And Refugees Returned, But -2- The State of Israel, like the "Teacher" has lost all patience, with such a lazy (PA) student, and even if the PA turns in it's "homework" now, it is probably too late for creating Palestine !!
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