US denies reports of canceled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after West Bank clashes

State Department: Parties are engaged in serious, sustained talks.

Israelis, Palestinians meeting for resumption of talks 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
Israelis, Palestinians meeting for resumption of talks 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
The US State Department on Monday denied reports that peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians had been canceled following clashes in the West Bank.
"I can assure you that no meetings have been canceled," State Department spokeswoman Mari Harf told Reuters. "The parties are engaged in serious and sustained negotiations," she said.
AFP quoted a Palestinian official earlier Monday as saying the Palestinian Authority had canceled a meeting with Israeli peace negotiators scheduled to take place during the day in response to the killing of three Palestinians by Israeli security forces at the Kalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank earlier in the day.
Security forces who arrived in Kalandiya near Ramallah to arrest a security suspect came under a  large scale attack by hundreds of Palestinians on Monday morning, resulting in deadly clashes in which three rioters were reportedly killed.
"The meeting that was to take place in was cancelled because of the Israeli crime committed in Kalandiya today," the official told AFP.
The peace process was revived at the end of July for what was expected be a nine-month process. The parties met three times last week in Jerusalem. The meetings to date have been between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israeli envoy Yitzhak Malho and Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh.
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killings, saying that they, along with continued settlement plans, "are a clear message of the true Israeli intentions toward the peace process.”
Nabil Abu Rudaineh hinted that the peace talks could be in danger, stating "There is going to be negative repercussions to these acts.”
Abu Rudaineh called on the US to intervene and prevent the collapse of peace efforts.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that "such crimes demand immediate and active international intervention to force Israel to stop its continuous violations and provide international protection to our people.”
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said Israel's use of live ammunition in densely populated civilian areas was "a blatant violation of international and humanitarian law."
“We call on the members of the United Nations Security Council, the Quartet and the rest of the international community to take serious measures to bring an immediate end to the killing of innocent civilians and to terminate Israel’s impunity."
An IDF force protecting the Border Police unit making an arrest in Kalandiya felt that the lives of security forces were under threat, and opened fire at their attackers, the IDF said on Monday's incident.
Video images from the scene showed two IDF jeeps being ambushed by Palestinians on rooftops and at street level, hurling large rocks and other heavy items from multiple directions.
The wanted suspect, said by the IDF to be a terrorist, was arrested and taken for questioning.
Official Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted hospital sources in the West Bank as saying Rubin Zayed, Jihad Aslan and Younis Jamal Jahjouh had been killed in the clashes. An additional fifteen Palestinians were wounded in the incident, according to Palestinian medical sources.
The Police and IDF were investigating the circumstances of the clash.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.