Israel, Palestinians to Meet Again as U.S. Reevaluates Peace Process

Previous meeting last Thursday collapsed in disarray amid mutual recriminations.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Protesters stand in front of Israeli troops during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, near a checkpoint in Bethlehem. April 4, 2014.
Protesters stand in front of Israeli troops during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, near a checkpoint in Bethlehem. April 4, 2014.Credit: Reuters
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Despite the announcement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama Administration is conducting a rethink of its involvement in the Middle East peace process, America is continuing to look for solutions to the current crisis..

The IsraeIi and Palestinian negotiating teams will meet again on Sunday, under the auspices of American envoy Martin Indyk, a senior Israeli official said.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special representative Isaac Molcho will represent Israel, while chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Intelligence head Majd Freij will represent the Palestinians.

The meeting will be the second since the peace talks collapsed last week. The previous meeting last Thursday night ended in failure, with both sides swapping bitter recriminations.

The Israeli side threatened the Palestinians with unprecedented sanctions, according to sources close to the talks, in response to Erekat's declaration that his team was representing the occupied Palestinian state recognized by the United Nations.

Erekat also threatened that should the situation escalate, the Palestinians would prosecute Israel for war crimes in the international arena.

On Friday, a United States spokesman said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders needed to do some soul searching. The U.S. is very close to quitting its peace efforts, in the absence of progress, said deputy state department spokesman Marie Harf.

However, Harf clarified that the U.S. had not yet reached that point and that Indyk would be continuing talks with Israelis and Palestinians in order to examine options to solve the current crisis.

Deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a press briefing on Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama would meet with Kerry soon to evaluate the U.S. role in the peace process.

There's no doubt that we have reached a point where Palestinians leaders and Israeli leaders need to spend some time thinking about their commitment to taking some very difficult steps, Earnest said.

Kerry, Livni and Erekat in Washington.Credit: AP





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