Government Cutting Most Ties with Ramallah
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has issued instructions to government ministries forbidding meetings with Palestinian officials, and halting all civilian and economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority (PA), following the collapse of negotiations with the PA.
"In response to the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks... Israel government ministers have been told to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts," the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
The new instructions do not include the Defense Ministry or talks carried out as part of the Israel-PA negotiations.
Israel last Thursday informed the Palestinian Authority (PA) of a series of punitive measures against it, following the PA’s request to join 15 international conventions, ahead of becoming a member of various UN bodies.
According to Voice of Israel public radio, these measures include a suspension of high-level contacts between ministers and CEOs, and any contacts with the PA will now be led by the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
It was also decided to freeze the implementation of 3G cellular technology in PA-assigned areas and stop the transfer into Gaza of communications equipment belonging to the PA cellular phone company Watania.
US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke before the Senate on Tuesday, where he blamed Israel for the breakdown of peace talks last week.
"Israel didn't release the Palestinian prisoners on the day they were supposed to be freed, and another day passed, and another day, and then another 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and 'poof'...that was sort of the moment," remarked Kerry before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.