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article imageMideast talks postponed after West Bank slaying, Jerusalem unrest

By Nathan Salant     Apr 16, 2014 in World
Jerusalem - A planned meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators has been postponed for one day after violence in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority acknowledged Wednesday.
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PA President Mahmoud Abbas' office told the British Broadcasting Co. (BBC) that the meeting, an effort to get peace talks restarted between the longtime adversaries after the latest in a series of breakdowns, was now planned for Thursday.
"The meeting that was planned for tonight between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will not be taking place -- it's being postponed," an Israeli official told BBC, according to the Reuters news service.
Neither side offered a reason for the postponement, but it was widely understood that Israel was furious over the shooting death of a off-duty police officer outside Hebron on Monday, and that Palestinians were profoundly unhappy about violence that broke out Wednesday in Jerusalem's old city.
If talks do resume on Thursday, officials from the United States are expected to continue their efforts to convince both sides to agree to an extension of the impending April 29 deadline for negotiations to conclude.
The nine-month term was agreed to when talks between Ramallah and Jerusalem resumed last July.
After it became obvious that the two sides needed more time to resolve any of their most-contentious disagreements, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Special Envoy Martin Indyk tried to limit negotiations toward a "framework" for further talks.
But no agreements emerged from the negotiations, at least not so far, and the Israelis and Palestinians have started taking actions that appear designed to infuriate each other, the BBC said.
Israel approved 700 new homes on land sought by the PA for its own state and refused to release the last group of long-held prisoners it had agreed to free as a condition of restarting the talks.
The PA began signing international treaties at the United Nations as if it were an independent country, a move it had agreed not to make while talks with Israel continued.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his government to restrict contacts with PA officials, except for the negotiating team.
Possibly related violence broke out Wednesday at what is possibly Jerusalem's holiest site, the Temple Mount, which is shared by a sacred Muslim shrine and part of the biblical Jewish temple built by King Solomon.
Israeli authorities reported that police were attacked by hundreds of youths throwing stones, and they responded with nonlethal stun grenades and rubber bullets.
Dozens of injuries were reported, according to the Jerusalem Post.
But on Monday, an Israeli intelligence officer was shot and killed while driving with his family on Highway 35 in Idna, just outside Hebron in the West Bank.
Baruch Mizrahi's wife and child were wounded in the attack, which brought condemnation from a PA leader but praise from Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.
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