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Palestinian, Israeli negotiators meet in Jerusalem

Aug. 15, 2013 9:39 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 16, 2013 12:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Away from cameras, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators on Wednesday held a second round of negotiations in Jerusalem amidst low expectations after Israel’s announcement to build thousands of new settlement units in the West Bank.

The Palestinian team comprised Saeb Erekat and Muhammad Ishtayya, while on the Israeli side there were minister of justice Tzipi Livni and prime minister Netanyahu’s adviser Yitzhak Molcho.

Israeli sources privy to the details said the round table meeting lasted five hours and was serious. The negotiators agreed to have another meeting soon in Jericho.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were resumed in Washington in July for the first time since 2010. The Palestinians had stopped negotiations with Israel after the Israeli government insisted on expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“Israel will dodge, evade and propose unachievable demands in order to promote a conclusion that negotiations are futile, and so Israel will continue to steal lands as they are doing now,” said PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo.

Ahead of the meeting in Jerusalem, chief Israeli negotiator Livni wrote on her Facebook account: “Today I will continue with the important mission I have started seeking to finalize a peace agreement which will keep the state Jewish and democratic … and guarantee security to Israel and its citizens.”
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