Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' office late Monday announced that the meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had been cancelled, due to what it regarded as limited good-will gestures from Israel towards the Palestinians, especially concerning the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Sharon's bureau also announced late Monday night that the meeting scheduled for Wednesday with Abbas had been cancelled in light of Sunday night's shooting attack near Bethlehem, in which four Israeli settlers were wounded. The two were to have met shortly after the scheduled release of 443 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli detention facilities.
Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom also postponed his planned Tuesday meetings with ministers from the Palestinian Authority.
Sharon and Abbas were to discuss the release of the prisoners, as well as the Palestinian proposal for a permanent cease-fire, which Israel has rejected.
Sharon said Monday that Israel would continue with the release of Palestinian prisoners in its jails, while PA leader Yasser Arafat called the decision to free several hundred prisoners on Wednesday a "deception." (Albawaba.com)
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