Israel cancels meeting with Palestinians on Hamas reunion
By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout, Wednesday, April 23, 2014
AL-QUDS – Israel on Wednesday cancelled a scheduled meeting with Palestinian negotiators on the background of a reconciliation deal between rival Fatah and Hamas groups.
"Israel cancelled the negotiation meeting that was supposed to take place this evening," Israeli government spokesman Ofir Gendelman was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as saying.
It was not immediately clear whether the Israeli decision includes negotiations with the Palestinian side as a whole.
Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday hammered out a reconciliation deal in the Gaza Strip, bringing to an end a rift that persisted between the two Palestinian movements since 2007.
Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin claimed that the deal between Hamas and Fatah aims to destroy Israel.
Prospects for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians appeared to crumble in late March after Israel refused to release 26 Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.
In retaliation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for Palestinian membership in 15 U.N. conventions.
The latest developments come only a few weeks before an April 29 negotiation deadline for the U.S.-sponsored peace talks.
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