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Official: Abbas-Mofaz meeting postponed indefinitely

June 30, 2012 9:09 A.M. (Updated: July 1, 2012 10:21 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Sunday's meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli vice premier Shaol Mofaz has been postponed indefinitely, an official said Saturday.

The senior Fatah official, who asked not to be named, told Ma'an the meeting was postponed for several reasons including public opposition under the current circumstances.

The official applauded Abbas “for showing respect to the people’s position,” which he said was their right.

"The whole world should consider the huge pressure internally and externally President Abu Mazen (Abbas) faces in light of Israel’s stubbornness and the ongoing settlement activities, detentions, and house demolitions," the official said.

Palestinians reacted overwhelmingly negatively Thursday and Friday after news of the expected meeting between Abbas and the Israeli vice premier, taking to Facebook to denounce the visit.

The leaders were to meet Sunday in Ramallah, but Palestinian youths began preparations to hold protests and some even called on the Palestinian Authority to arrest the official upon arrival.

Mofaz told reporters this month that he intended to meet Abbas "to examine ways to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians".

Mofaz, head of Israel's centrist Kadima party, joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition in May to form one of the biggest coalitions in Israeli history, a move that commentators said could give Netanyahu a freer hand to seek peace with the Palestinians.

Negotiations between Israel and the PLO broke down in late 2010 after Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on illegal settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

The PLO has demanded a halt to the construction before talks resume, but Israel says the settlements issue should be resolved in negotiations.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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