Netanyahu orders cutback in contacts with Palestinian Authority

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel yesterday announced a partial freeze in high-level contacts with the Palestinians and also threatened economic steps after they signed international conventions, deepening a crisis menacing US-brokered peace talks.

Israeli government officials said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered cabinet members, directors-general of government ministries and other senior officials not to meet their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority (PA). A spokesman for the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said Israeli-Palestinian ministerial meetings were rare but voiced concern about the possibility of Israeli economic sanctions.

The order does not apply to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief peace negotiator, or to defence and security officials, Israeli officials said. A US mediator has held a series of meetings over the past week to try to push the troubled talks past an original April 29 deadline for a deal. “This decision undermines all international efforts … to revive the negotiations, to proceed with a constructive solution to the challenges facing the peace process,” said Palestinian Authority spokesman Ehab Bseiso.

An Israeli official said Netanyahu had issued the order in response to “the Palestinians’ grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks” – a reference to the signing of 15 international agreements last week. The ban was imposed just hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Israel’s announcement on April 1 of plans to build about 700 housing units in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want for the capital of a future state, was the immediate cause of talks plunging into crisis. Washington described the Israeli decision as “unfortunate.” Kerry, meeting in Washington with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieber-man, said: “We are working hard to try to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks.”

Comments  

Boston march against hate speech avoids Charlottesville chaos

BOSTON (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Boston yesterday to protest a “free speech” rally featuring far-right speakers a week after a woman was killed at a Virginia white-supremacist demonstration.

Trump, first lady will not attend Kennedy Center Honors -White House

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend the Kennedy Center Honors in December, the White House announced yesterday, after several honorees said they would boycott a White House reception before the show.

Spain hunts for driver in van rampage, says Islamist cell dismantled

RIPOLL/BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Police were searching yesterday for the driver of a van that killed 13 people when it ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona and were trying to determine whether two other suspected Islamist militants linked to the attack had died or were at large.

Nigeria’s Buhari returns home after three-month sick leave in Britain

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returned home yesterday from three months of medical leave in Britain where he received treatment for an unspecified ailment.

Trump dumps controversial chief strategist Bannon in latest upheaval

WASHINGTON/HAGERSTOWN, Md., (Reuters) – President Donald Trump yesterday fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon in the latest White House shake-up, removing a far-right architect of his 2016 election victory and a driving force behind his nationalist and anti-globalization agenda.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×