World Bulletin / News Desk
Palestinian resistance faction Hamas on Wednesday called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to terminate its ongoing talks with Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his government to halt civilian and economic cooperation with the PA.
"[Hamas] urges the PA not to return to negotiations under any circumstances," Fawzi Barhoum said in a press statement.
He went on to voice hope that Netanyahu's move would provide the "impetus for reviving resistance in the West Bank."
An Israeli government official was quoted by Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post as saying that Netanyahu's decision had come in response to "Palestinian violations."
According to the paper, Israeli government ministers had been asked to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts.
The order does not, however, apply to the Israeli Defense Ministry or to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who represents Israel's lead negotiator in ongoing U.S.-sponsored peace talks.
Arab League blames Israel for negotiation deadlock
The Arab League on Wednesday blamed Israel for the current impasse in ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians.
In a statement issued following a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, the pan-Arab body said that Israel refused to abide by a two-state solution, which calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders.
"It also refuses to release afourth group of Palestinian prisoners," the statement said.
Arab foreign ministers hailed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, calling on Washington to maintain its efforts to kick-start foundering negotiations.
Wednesday's Arab foreign ministers meeting was held at the request of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
Arab foreign ministers reiterated their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, along with unilateral Israeli attempts to change the geography and demography of the Palestinian territories with the aim of imposing new facts on the ground and undermining the two-state solution.
Palestinian-Israeli peace talks stalled last month when Israel refused to release a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners– despite earlier pledges to do so – as a means of pressuring the PA to extend an April 29 negotiation deadline.
In response, Abbas formally applied for Palestinian membership in several U.N. agencies and conventions.
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