Indyk to Return to Israel and Meet Negotiators
A meeting between Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators on Sunday ended in no results, but the sides plan to meet again after the first day of the Passover holiday, AFP reports.
A PA source close to the talks told the news agency that a new meeting between the negotiators was set for Tuesday or Wednesday evening, with U.S. 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.
Sunday’s meeting was attended by the chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's special envoy Yitzhak Molcho.
The peace process hit a snag last week when Israel announced it would freeze the transfer of taxes to the PA, suspend participation with the PA to develop a gas field in the sea off of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and put a cap on PA deposits in Israeli banks.
These sanctions followed other punitive measures and sanctions that Israel took against the PA after it unilaterally applied to join 15 international conventions in breach of the conditions of the peace talks.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, in a meeting with ambassadors posted in Tel Aviv on Sunday, blamed the PA 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.
A senior PA official, Nabil Shaath, said the PA 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 PA-based news agency WAFA.
On Friday, the United States hit out at both the PA and Israel for their recent moves.
"Unilateral moves by both sides will not accelerate the peace process, but will rather do the opposite,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Israel freezing the transfer of taxes it collects for the PA is “unfortunate”.
“We’ve seen these press reports, but we have not seen an official public announcement by the Government of Israel. That said, we would regard such a development as unfortunate,” Psaki told reporters in her daily briefing.
“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,” she added.