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Israeli MKs: Halt peace negotiations with PA

Israeli forces take security measures at the scene of a shooting that left three Israeli security forces and one Palestinian dead on 26 September 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Senior Israeli politicians have called for Tel Aviv to halt any attempts to restart peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) after a shooting this morning that left three Israeli security forces and one Palestinian dead, according to the Times of Israel.

The attack, that took place outside a settlement, came hours after US Special Envoy for the Peace Process Jason Greenblatt arrived in Tel Aviv as part of his efforts to continue peace negotiations. The deaths of the Israeli officials prompted condemnation from across the political spectrum.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to blame the PA for the incident, adding that this would be an impediment to the proposed talks.

“Before speaking about any kind of negotiations, the world must demand that the PA stop inciting and fanning the flames of terror.”

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Similarly Transport and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz directly addressed Greenblatt and emphasised that the security of Israel “remains the supreme … and is above any other consideration of improving and easing the lives of the Palestinians”.

MK Bezalel Smotrich of the far-right Jewish Home party further stated in a tweet that the only way to end terror attacks was to stop giving the Palestinians hope of a peace deal or two-state solution.

“[It is] the usual ritual. We just begin talking about restarting negotiations [with the PA] and already we pay the painful price. Hope is the force that drives murderous Arab terror. Every time we awaken it, it rises up and attacks us. Only removing hope will end terrorism.”

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The US proposed peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has already stalled once this year, after the “deal of the century”  revealed by US President Donald Trump ruled out the two-state solution as an answer to the conflict. The plan has since been undermined multiple times following senior US officials expressing doubt as to its chance of success, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas confessing he could not understand the plan.

The Trump administration has failed to commit itself to a two-state solution and has not demanded a halt to Israeli settlement construction; both pledges are key demands of the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also condemned today’s attack, claiming it was the result of “systematic incitement by the Palestinian Authority and other elements”. He further added that the alleged perpetrator’s home would be demolished; his village of Beit Surik has already been sealed off by Israeli occupying forces.

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