A meeting scheduled between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators on Wednesday evening has been postponed, AFP is reporting.
The talks, which were aimed at salvaging the peace negotiations that have been teetering on the brink of collapse since late last month, were pushed back following Monday evening's terrorist attack near Hebron which left an Israeli man dead.
AFP cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that the meeting was postponed, though no official reason was given. According to the report, Palestinian officials said the talks were being pushed back to Thursday in order to allow Martin Indyk, US Secretary of State John Kerry's envoy to the peace talks, to arrive in the region and participate in the negotiating session.
In the first official Palestinian reaction to Monday evening’s terrorist shooting in the southern Hebron hills, Endowments Minister Mahmoud Al Habash told Israeli reporters in Ramallah that he was “pained” by the murder.
“We condemn the killing of all people irrespective of their background,” Al Habash was quoted as saying by Army Radio. “The idea of killing and violence is completely illegitimate.”
In the immediate aftermath of Monday’s incident, which killed Ch.-Supt. Baruch Mizrachi, the Israeli government blamed the Palestinian Authority’s “campaign of incitement” which it says motivated the murder.
On his Facebook page, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday accused the PA of “financing the murder of Jews.”
The attack re-ignited calls from within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party to take a tougher approach to peace talks with the Palestinians. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Israel Radio on Wednesday that Netanyahu should order Israeli negotiators not to meet with their Palestinian counterparts until the Palestinian Authority officially issues a condemnation of the killing.
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