Officials in Jerusalem were pessimistic on Friday about the possibility of the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) resuming anytime in the near future.
Those officials told Channel 10 News that there is “zero chance that an agreement will be reached in the coming weeks” that will allow the talks to continue beyond an April 29 deadline.
The officials cited the departure of U.S. mediator Martin Indyk, who met with the sides on Thursday but left the region and is not due back until after the Passover holiday.
On Thursday it was also widely speculated that the peace talks were salvaged in the form of a deal freeing Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israeli-held Arab terrorist convicts and an extension of talks.
The deal was reported on Channel 2 and Channel 10. Al Arabiya also reported that the deal was about to be finalized. A U.S. official later denied the reports.
Also on Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon signed official documents, confirming reception of and starting processing for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's requests to join international conventions that are also signed by the UN. Ten of the 15 conventions the PA wishes to join are co-signed by the UN.
Hours after Ban signed the documents, an Israeli official said that Israel has enacted an additional sanction against the PA, by freezing the transfer of taxes Israel collects for the PA.
Further, the official noted that Israel is suspending participation with the PA to develop a gas field in the sea off of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and putting a cap on PA deposits in Israeli banks.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)