JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Thursday suspended U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians in response to President Mahmoud Abbas’s unexpected unity pact with the rival Islamist Hamas group.
The negotiations had appeared to be heading nowhere even before Wednesday’s reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian groups plunged them deeper into crisis. The United States had been struggling to extend the talks beyond an original April 29 deadline for a peace accord.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday over just-revived unity talks with Hamas, saying he had to choose between peace with Israel or its Islamist enemy.
Delegates from Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas representatives held a fence-mending session on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, their first since a 2007 conflict in which forces loyal to Western-backed Abbas lost control of the enclave to the militant group, an opponent of peace with Israel.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has carried out a new land appropriation in the occupied West Bank, the Haaretz daily said on Sunday, in a move that could complicate efforts to extend troubled peace talks with the Palestinians.
Haaretz said the Defense Ministry declared nearly 250 acres of territory in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc just south of Jerusalem “state land”.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel announced on Wednesday a partial freeze in high-level contacts with the Palestinians in retaliation for their signing of international conventions, deepening a crisis that threatens to wreck U.S.-brokered peace talks.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, said Israeli-Palestinian ministerial meetings were rare but voiced concern that the step could be followed by economic sanctions.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ended another U.S.-mediated session on Tuesday with no sign of a breakthrough in efforts to save peace talks from collapse, but an Israeli official said they had agreed to meet again.
In a statement about the latest discussions, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “Gaps remain but both sides are committed to narrow the gaps.”
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. efforts to save Middle East peace talks from collapse showed little sign of progress on Monday after negotiators met amid threats from Israel to retaliate for what it saw as unilateral Palestinian moves towards statehood.
The U.S.-brokered negotiations plunged into crisis last week after Israel, demanding a Palestinian commitment to continue talking after the end of the month, failed to carry out a promised release of about two dozen Palestinian prisoners.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, threatening to punish the Palestinians for unilateral moves towards statehood, said on Sunday Israel was willing to press on with U.S.-brokered peace talks but not “at any price”.
Netanyahu did not immediately specify what action he might take after President Mahmoud Abbas signed 15 international conventions, mainly through the United Nations, that Israel fears could give the Palestinians greater leverage against it.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rushed back to the Middle East on Monday to try to salvage stalled peace talks, possibly by releasing an Israeli spy jailed in the United States and Palestinian prisoners.
Requesting anonymity, a U.S. official said the release of Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the United States for spying for Israel, was “on the table” as a possible element in a Middle East peace deal. .
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon is in hot water again with the United States for caustic criticism of his country’s main ally that has put more strain on already testy relations with the Obama administration.
And the hawkish former general, widely popular in Israel for being an apparent straight-shooter who does not shy from speaking bluntly on issues of war and peace, seems reluctant to beat a full retreat from his tough words toward Washington.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel launched air strikes on Wednesday against Syrian military sites in retaliation for a roadside bombing that wounded four of its troops, attacks that added a dangerous new dimension to Syria’s civil war.
By announcing the raids, as opposed to its official silence over past strikes on weaponry from Syria believed destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel appeared intent on delivering a message of deterrence to President Bashar al-Assad.