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Netanyahu orders cutback in contacts with Palestinian Authority

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a halt to high-level contacts with the Palestinians on non-security related issues, but exempted his chief peace negotiator from the ban, government officials said on Wednesday. One Israeli official called Netanyahu's order a response to "the Palestinians' grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks" -- an apparent reference to their signing of 15 international conventions last week.

Israel's Livni calls for direct talks with Palestinians

Israel's chief negotiator called on Saturday for direct talks with the Palestinians, as attempts continue to prevent the collapse of peace negotiations. Tzipi Livni's remarks came on the eve of a three-way meeting with her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat and US envoy Martin Indyk, officials close to the talks said. Indyk met the two separately Friday. The developments come as US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that there were "limits" to the time and energy Washington could devote to the process, adding it was time for a "reality check."

Israel's Livni calls for direct talks with Palestinians

Israel's chief negotiator called on Saturday for direct talks with the Palestinians, as attempts continue to prevent the collapse of peace negotiations. Tzipi Livni's remarks came on the eve of a three-way meeting with her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat and US envoy Martin Indyk, officials close to the talks said. Indyk met the two separately on Friday. The developments come as US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that there were "limits" to the time and energy Washington could devote to the process, adding it was time for a "reality check."

Israel, Palestinians, US meet to avoid talks collapse

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet jointly Sunday with US envoy Martin Indyk, as attempts continue to prevent the collapse of peace negotiations, officials close to the talks said. The first three-way meeting since Wednesday comes as Washington reviews its push for a peace deal after a spiral of tit-for-tat moves by Israel and the Palestinians took hard-won negotiations close to collapse. US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday there were "limits" to the time and energy Washington could devote to the process, adding it was time for a "reality check."

US reviews Mideast peace push as tit-for-tat moves multiply

Washington said Friday it was reviewing its push for a Middle East peace agreement as a spiral of tit-for-tat moves by Israel and the Palestinians took hard-won talks close to collapse. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has invested more than a year of intensive shuttle diplomacy in the talks process, said there were "limits" to the time Washington could devote to it. "This is not open-ended," Kerry said during a visit to Morocco, adding that it was "reality check" time and he would evaluate with President Barack Obama what Washington does next.

Israel stops Palestinian prisoner release amid talks crisis

Israel has called off the planned release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, placing already embattled peace talks in further jeopardy after both sides took steps Washington called "unhelpful". Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians has told them that the planned release cannot go ahead, a source close to the embattled talks told AFP on Thursday. A frustrated US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier demanded that recalcitrant Israeli and Palestinian leaders demonstrate leadership in the crisis-hit peace process.

Israel's Lieberman heads to US as peace talks falter

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will fly to the United States Friday for talks including with Secretary of State John Kerry amid a crisis in peace talks with the Palestinians. Lieberman's office said in a statement on Thursday he would be in New York on Friday to meet Mayor Bill de Blasio and American Jewish leaders. On Sunday he is due to speak on Israel-US relations and the peace talks at a conference in New York. In Washington he will meet congressional leaders at Capitol Hill on April 8 and have talks with Kerry the following day, it said.

Israel cancels Palestinian prisoner release: talks source

Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians has told them that a planned release of 26 Palestinian prisoners cannot go ahead, a source close to the talks told AFP on Thursday. Speaking on condition of anonymity the source said Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told a meeting with her counterparts on Wednesday that the release could not take place, as the Palestinians had unilaterally resumed moves to seek international recognition for their promised state. scw/hkb

Israel cancels Palestinian prisoner release: talks source

Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians has told them that a planned release of 26 Palestinian prisoners cannot go ahead, a source close to the talks told AFP on Thursday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told a meeting with her counterparts on Wednesday that the release could not take place, as the Palestinians had unilaterally resumed moves to seek international recognition for their promised state. Talks hit a new impasse when Israel failed to free 26 prisoners as expected at the weekend.

US says Israel prisoner delay a 'challenge'

The United States said Thursday that Israel's failure to agree to free a group of Palestinian prisoners was a new challenge for imperiled US peace efforts. Israel's top negotiator Tzipi Livni told the Palestinians earlier that the release of 26 prisoners could not take place because of an attempt by the government of president Mahmud Abbas to seek international recognition, a source said. "The decision by the Israelis to delay the release of the fourth tranche of prisoners creates challenges," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
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