Israel has decided to continue to impose sanctions against the Palestinian Authority in response to President Mahmod Abbas’ request to join 15 international conventions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all government ministries on Wednesday morning to halt cooperation with Palestinian entities, with a particular emphasis on meetings between Israeli ministers and their Palestinian counterparts.
A senior Israeli official said that the ministers were updated by telephone over the course of the morning by Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelblit, who ordered communication stymied with Palestinian officials including ministers and director generals in response to the Palestinian unilateral actions. Only low-level field cooperation will be permitted, according to the Israeli official.
Netanyahu issued his order just hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry placed most of the blame on Israel for the recent crisis in peace talks during a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Kerry said that the United States intends on continuing its efforts to promote a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, but “in the end the parties are going to have to make that decision.”
Kerry implied that Israel is mostly responsible for the crisis in talks and described the Palestinian application to United Nations institutions as a response to Israeli moves.
“Both sides, whether advertently or inadvertently, wound up in positions where things happened that were unhelpful,” he said, and went on to explain how the current crisis was created. “Clearly, going to these treaties is not helpful, and we have made that crystal-clear,” he said. “Unfortunately, prisoners were not released on the Saturday they were supposed to be released. And so day went by, day two went by, day three went by. And then in the afternoon, when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem and, poof, that was sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are.”