Report: Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet without Indyk

Officials from both sides convene meeting without presence of US mediators in latest push to overcome impasse in talks.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 14, 2014 02:52
2 minute read.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni at a press conference, July 30

Livni and Erekat 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

 
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Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held a three-hour meeting Sunday night without the presence of US mediator Martin Indyk, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

The meeting reportedly ended without clear indications of progress.

PLO sources told Ma'an that the Palestinian team had rejected Israeli chief negotiation Tzipi Livni's call for the Palestinians to withdraw their applications to join 15 international treaties and organizations.

According to the report, the Palestinian negotiators also called for Israel to completely freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem prior to discussing other issues.

While Ma'an did not name the officials present at the meeting, an earlier AFP report quoted an unnamed Palestinian official as saying that Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's special envoy Yitzhak Molcho were scheduled to meet with the Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Erekat denied to Israel Radio earlier Sunday that his team was planning to meet with Israeli negotiators.

According to the radio station, he said the sides would only convene later in the week when US mediator Martin Indyk returned to the region.

Israel did not independently confirm the report.


On Thursday, Israeli and Palestinian officials held their fourth session in a week to find a way out of the current impasse in the talks before Indyk returned to Washington on Friday for consultations during Passover break, which begins Monday at sunset.

He was not expected to return to the region until later in the week at the earliest.

During Thursday's meeting, the sides did not reach an agreement, but sources familiar with the discussions said the sides had agreed to continue meeting in the days ahead.

On Thursday, Israel announced that it would deduct some NIS 200 million the PA owes it from monthly tax revenue returns in retribution for the Palestinians' unilateral decision to apply to join 15 international treaties and organizations.

This announcement followed another Israeli response: a directive from Netanyahu to his government ministers and their directors-general to halt meetings with their Palestinian counterparts.

Talks hit crisis last week after PA President Mahmoud Abbas applied to join more than two dozen international treaties and conventions following Israel's refusal to release a fourth batch of 26 Palestinian prisoners convicted of terrorist acts before the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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