PA Official: Israel Keeps Threatening Us
Last-ditch talks between Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators on salvaging the peace process ended without a breakthrough Sunday, PA sources told AFP.
As usual, the sources blamed Israel for the impasse, which came last week when PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas requested to join 15 international agencies in breach of the talk conditions. In response, Israel cancelled the fourth terrorist release "gesture".
"The crisis continues. During the whole meeting, the Israelis threatened the Palestinians and no solution to the crisis was found," a PA official told AFP Sunday night, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Warning that the peace process was on the edge of collapse, an Israeli official close to the talks said that even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, its tireless sponsor, was cooling off.
"The way it's looking now, the talks as they were several weeks ago are no longer relevant," the source was quoted as having said.
"Israel is preparing to return to routine dealings with the Palestinians as they were before the negotiations started nine months ago. We are noticing a real coolness in the way the Americans are treating (the peace process), and it's obvious that today's Kerry is not the same Kerry from a few weeks ago," the official added, according to AFP.
On Friday, Kerry said he would "evaluate" his next steps regarding the peace talks given the latest crisis.
Kerry admitted on Thursday that there was little he could do to save the talks, saying, “You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions to compromise.”
A second Israeli official, however, said another chance needed to be given to the efforts of Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni.
"We have to wait a few more days... A lot of efforts are being done to salvage the situation," the official said, according to AFP.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatened to respond if the PA proceeded with applications to adhere to 15 international treaties.
"These will only make a peace agreement more distant," he said of the applications, adding, "Any unilateral moves they take will be answered by unilateral moves at our end."
Netanyahu's remarks, made at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, came hours before Israeli and PA negotiators met American envoy Martin Indyk in an attempt to save the peace process.
The three-way meeting began in the afternoon and ended in the evening in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, there have been calls on Netanyahu to stop any peace talks with the PA until it drops its UN bid.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) called for the official and immediate end to all negotiations.
"The Americans think that [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas bluntly violated the agreements for talks," Ariel stated, in an interview with Army Radio. "They should stop talks until they [the PA] come to their senses and pull all their papers [to the UN]."