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Netanyahu Orders Ban on High-Level Contact with Palestinian Officials

Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered an official ban on high-level contact between Israeli officials and Palestinian officials on issues not related to security, excluding head negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. The prime minister made the announcement on Wednesday amidst fall-outs in peace talks.

Netanyahu reportedly made the decision in response to the Palestinian Authority’s signing of 15 treaties to international conventions at attempts to receive recognition as a sovereign state, a violation of agreements made for the resumption of peace talks. Netanyahu stated his decision was made due to “the Palestinians’ grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks.”

The Palestinian Authority claims their reason for bypassing peace talks in attempts to gain international recognition as “The State of Palestine” is due to Israel’s decision to not release a the previously agreed fourth set of Palestinian prisoners, all of which were incarcerated for acts of terror.

While negotiating topics are kept confidential, Prime Minister Netanyahu and several Israeli Members of Parliament addressed the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas consistently refusing to do so, as a main obstacle in the peace process.

Late May during the Arab League Summit, the League released an official resolution that refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, quoted “absolute and categorical refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state”.

Following the announcement, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that negotiations would suffer as a result, stating, “Either it resolves or implodes. In any case, there won’t be any deal without receiving something of clear value in return.”

The Palestinian Authority responded to Netanyahu’s ban Wednesday stating that the decision would “contribute further to the deterioration the peace process” a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority stating, “This decision undermines all international efforts to revive the negotiations and to proceed with a constructive solution to the challenges facing the peace process.”

Amir Tsarfati is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.

Photo credit: Prime Minister of Israel (Creative Commons)

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