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Report: 'Silent crisis' between Abbas, Fayyad

April 23, 2012 2:48 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2012 2:08 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A crisis has emerged between President Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad over the latter's refusal to deliver a letter to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Monday.

The London based paper said that a "silent crisis" has emerged between the leaders after Fayyad backed out of a meeting last Tuesday.

The PA prime minister was reluctant to engage with Israel on a day when more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike in protest against their conditions in Israeli jails, senior Palestinian officials said.

President Abbas has not been responding to the prime minister's phone-calls, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported. A number of Palestinian officials contacted by Ma'an refused to comment on the report.

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat handed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a letter from Abbas on Tuesday, which demanded a halt to Israeli settlement construction on West Bank land captured in the 1967 Middle East war and deplored Israel's lack of commitment to the peace process.

Netanyahu promised a written reply in two weeks.

Fayyad's last-minute withdrawal from the meeting may also cast new light on divisions within the Palestinian political establishment, which has yet to find a strategy likely to lead to Palestinian statehood.

Reuters contributed to this report
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