Palestinian, Israeli negotiators set to meet, again

AL-QUDS – A trilateral meeting bringing together Palestinian and Israeli negotiators and U.S. mediators is set to take place on Tuesday evening in West Jerusalem, Palestinian sources close to the talks have confirmed.

"The meeting will be attended by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, intelligence chief Maged Farag, top Israeli negotiator and justice minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy, Yitzhak Molcho," one source, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Anadolu Agency.

Observers expect today's meeting to be crucial, as it comes only one week before the expiry of an April 29 deadline for talks set by U.S. mediators.

Prospects for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians appeared to crumble late last month after Israel refused to release 26 Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas retaliated by applying for Palestinian membership in 15 U.N. agencies and conventions.

Tuesday's meeting comes as a Fatah-led delegation from the West Bank is due in the Gaza Strip for reconciliation talks with rival faction Hamas.

It also comes one day after Fatah's Central Committee held a meeting to discuss options available in the event that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapse.

"Our position is clear: there will be no extension of the negotiations without a clear agenda," Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud al-Aloul told AA.

"Israel did not release the fourth installment of the Palestinian prisoners. We joined the U.N. agreements to protect our people," al-Aloul asserted.

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