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November 13, 2013 11:22 am

Report: Palestinian Authority Negotiators Quit Peace Talks

avatar by Zach Pontz

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat. Photo: State Department.

The Palestinian Authority team tasked with negotiating peace with Israel has resigned its role, apparently because of newly announced West Bank settlement plans, international media reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with Egyptian CBC television, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suggested the negotiations would continue.

“Either we can convince [the negotiating team] to return, and we’re trying with them, or we form a new delegation,” Abbas said.

In a statement to Reuters TV, chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat did not elaborate on the report of his resignation, only saying that discussions with Israel were stalled.

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“In reality, the negotiations stopped last week in light of the settlement announcements last week,” he said.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Housing Ministry published tenders for the planning of some 20,000 settlement apartments — an unprecedented number — including 1,200 units in the controversial E1 corridor linking Jerusalem with Ma’ale Adumim.

Soon after the news surfaced, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reeled in the Housing Minister who then backtracked on the tender plans.

Peace Now claims it has documented a 70 percent increase in new construction starts in settlements during the first six months of 2013, while the Israeli government says that the housing growth is natural suburban expansion from Jerusalem.

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