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Israel, Palestinian peace talks meeting postponed

April 16, 2014 4:06 P.M. (Updated: April 17, 2014 10:44 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- A meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed, an Israeli official said, days after a fatal shooting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed on Palestinian leaders.

"The meeting that was planned for tonight between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will not be taking place. It's being postponed," the Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official declined to explain the decision, but said Monday's killing of an Israeli police officer in the West Bank "was the direct result of ongoing incitement and glorification of terrorism that we see in the official Palestinian media and education system."

Palestinian officials told AFP the meeting was being postponed to Thursday to allow for the arrival of US mediator Martin Indyk to the region.

On Monday evening, 47-year-old settler Baruch Mizrahi, a high-ranking officer in the intelligence division, was shot dead while driving with his family southwest of Idhna, a village outside Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's army and police were still hunting for the suspected gunman on Wednesday, after carrying out extensive searches around Idhna.

Netanyahu said the "assassination is the result of the incitement to hatred by Palestinian Authority leaders who continue to peddle hate-filled material against Israel."

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met on Sunday, and held a trilateral meeting with Indyk on Thursday in a bid to try and save a stagnant peace process from crumbling.

The peace process has since last week suffered a new blow when Israel said it would freeze the transfer of duties it collects on the Palestinians' behalf, in retaliation for their diplomatic action against Israel at the United Nations.

Israel's government has announced the construction of thousands of settler housing units and its army has killed over 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since the negotiations began.
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