Diplomatic sources reveal that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met secretly in Jerusalem, a week after US-brokered peace talks were relaunched in the Holy City.
The reports quote sources close to the talks as saying the negotiators met Tuesday morning in Jerusalem\’s King David Hotel and were to meet again there in the evening.
The governments of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have pledged to keep the content of the discussions a secret at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The top U.S. diplomat brought the two sides together for a preliminary meeting in Washington on July 29 after months of shuttle diplomacy. Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat held a second meeting in Jerusalem last week, without U.S. mediation.
In an interview with Israeli radio on Tuesday, Livni said Israel will have to make "dramatic decisions" to conclude a peace deal.
The centrist Israeli justice minister also accused ultranationalist members of Israel\’s coalition government of making the negotiations harder by opposing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – something she supports. Her comment was seen as a reference to the Jewish Home party of ultranationalist Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.
Bennett responded to Livni\’s comment on Facebook, telling her to "get over it."
Netanyahu and Abbas have pledged to try to resolve all core issues of the conflict.
Those include rival sovereignty claims over Jerusalem, the fate of refugees of Arab-Israeli wars, the final borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state, and the presence of Jewish settlements on occupied West Bank land the Palestinians claim for that state.
A Palestinian has been killed in a shoot-out with Israeli troops on a raid to arrest a militant in the northern West Bank, the Israeli military says.
The military said soldiers were attacked as they went to detain the suspect in the city of Jenin.
Two Palestinians and two soldiers were wounded in the confrontation, the military said.
Afterwards, locals held angry protests against Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Reuters news agency said.