by Benson Agoha
Israel has suspended contacts with the Palestinian Authority in what they say is a response to PA's violation of their commitments under the peace talks.
Media reports say Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu moved forward with his recent threats to 'act unilaterally' in response to recent applications signed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, asking to join international bodies, some of which are affiliated to the United Nations.
* MK Zahava Gal-On is critical of PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
An Israeli official who requested anonymity reportedly told AFP “In response to the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks… Israel government ministers have been told to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts.”
According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu ordered government officials not to meet with their Palestinian counterparts, although the list exclude Israeli's Defence Ministry, Security Collaboration and Peace Negotiations.
Despite this, analysts say the latest move by PM Netanyahu is a set-back to the peace talks. And US Secretary of State, John Kerry has reportedly also blamed Israel for the setbacks, because of the Israeli government's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners as originally expected last month.
Senior officials of Netanyahu's government kickekd against the release of some 400 prisoners in exchange for moving the April deadline forward. And Netanyahu was originally against the release, fearing it could bring down his government.
Israeli Finance, Minister Yair Lapid also reportedly supports freezing settlement growth to prisoner release, saying it was preferable option.
He said Israel was not responsible for the latest collaps, or he would move his centrist Yesh Atid party out of Netanyahu's governing coalition.
Defending the decision, he told a Jewish group “I would choose, every day of the week, freezing the settlements over freeing prisoners,” adding “But in this coalition, in this particular moment, this was the favorable option.”
Israeli outspoken politician and leader of Meretz party, MK Zahava Gal-On said Natanyahu's government keeps 'making bad decisions and giving the US the finger'.
But Kerry did not blame only Israel. He said “Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” adding “The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof — that was sort of the moment.”
* Twitter: @woolwichonline.