Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a halt to all high-level contacts with the Palestinian Authority on any “non-security” issues, a further blow to the peace talks.
The move bars ministerial chiefs from meeting to coordinate with Palestinians, as well as the usual senior bureaucrats who meet during the course of maintaining the occupation of the West Bank.
Israel is still not officially terming the peace process “dead,” and Netanyahu notably exempted Tzipi Livni, the chief negotiator, from today’s ban on talks. Still, there are no talks planned, or really anticipated anymore.
The reason no one wants to admit the talks are dead is because of the ongoing effort to spin the blame for the talks’ failure as totally the Palestinians’ fault, and fear that the US still remembers the order of events leading to the breakdown. Israel is said to be “deeply disappointed” by Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent comments criticizing Israel’s settlement expansion during the collapse of the talks.
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