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Israeli coalition partner threatens to quit over peace talks

By Ari Rabinovitch JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A key partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition threatened on Friday to pull out of the government if a deal to salvage peace talks with the Palestinians includes the release of Israeli-Arab prisoners. The ultimatum by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, further complicates U.S. efforts to keep fraught negotiations from collapsing.

Israel imposes economic sanctions against Palestinians

By Crispian Balmer JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel imposed economic sanctions against the Palestinians on Thursday in retaliation for their leadership signing international conventions, moves that further complicate U.S. efforts to keep peace talks from collapsing before an April 29 deadline. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Jewish state would deduct debt payments from tax transfers which the Palestinian Authority routinely receives, and limit the self-rule government's bank deposits in Israel.

U.S. says 'gaps narrowing' in talks between Israelis and Palestinians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department said on Thursday that progress was being made in U.S.-mediated negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians meant to keep peace talks going, but denied reports from the region that there had been an agreement. "Our negotiating team and both parties remain in intensive negotiation. They had another meeting today. The gaps are narrowing but any speculations about an agreement are premature at this time," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular briefing.

Israel, Palestinians in 'intensive' talks to end deadlock

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held a fresh round of US-mediated talks Thursday to try to revive crisis-hit peace talks, officials said. "The gaps are narrowing, but any speculation about an agreement are premature at this time," said US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Washington remains in "intensive negotiations" with both sides, Psaki told reporters, but stressed that reports of a deal were "inaccurate" as Israel announced it was going to sanction the Palestinians by freezing taxes it collects on their behalf.

Israel sanctions Palestinians in new blow to peace talks

Israeli and Palestinian officials held fresh US-mediated talks Thursday, but the crisis-hit peace process was dealt a new blow as Israel unveiled sanctions against the Palestinians. "It has been decided to freeze the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of the taxes collected by Israel on its behalf," an Israeli official told AFP. The monthly 80 million euros ($111 million) in taxes collected by Israel represents about two-thirds of the income received by the Palestinian Authority.

Israel sanctions Palestinians in new blow to peace talks

Israeli and Palestinian officials held fresh US-mediated talks Thursday, but the crisis-hit peace process was dealt a new blow as Israel unveiled sanctions against the Palestinians. "It has been decided to freeze the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of the taxes collected by Israel on its behalf," an Israeli official told AFP. The monthly 80 million euros ($111 million) in taxes collected by Israel represents about two-thirds of the income received by the Palestinian Authority.

Israel, Palestinians meet on peace talks stalemate

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on Thursday held US-mediated talks to try to revive their crisis-hit peace process, a Palestinian official said, as a report emerged of a possible breakthrough. Peace talks sponsored by Washington hit a new impasse at the end of March when Israel refused to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinians retaliated by seeking membership of several international treaties.

Israeli-Palestinian prisoner deal to revive talks

Israel and the Palestinians were on the verge of a deal to extend US-backed peace talks, a report on Israeli television said on Thursday, as deadlocked negotiations faltered. The deal, which could be finalised within "a few days", would see a final batch of Palestinian prisoners released in return for the United States freeing American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Channel 2 television said. It cited "sources in Washington" as saying that "the parties are to sign an agreement to extend negotiations beyond (their deadline of) April 29".

Israeli-Palestinian prisoner deal to revive talks

Israel and the Palestinians were on the verge of a deal to extend US-backed peace talks, a report on Israeli television said on Thursday, as deadlocked negotiations faltered. The deal, which could be finalised within "a few days", would see a final batch of Palestinian prisoners released in return for the United States freeing American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Channel 2 television said. It cited "sources in Washington" as saying that "the parties are to sign an agreement to extend negotiations beyond (their deadline of) April 29."

Gaza athlete still runninng despite West Bank marathon ban

By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Kicking up dust on the back roads of northern Gaza within sight of the Israeli fence that seals off the enclave, Olympic athlete Nader Al-Masri is still training, despite being barred from competing in his people's largest sporting event. Masri, who has participated in 40 international contests including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, was denied a permit by Israeli authorities to travel to the occupied West Bank for the Palestine Marathon on Friday.
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