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Israeli 'escalation' endangers US peace efforts: Abbas

April 04, 2013

Mahmud Abbas -File Photo

RAMALLAH: The Israeli army's killing of two Palestinian youths in West Bank clashes jeopardises US efforts to rekindle peace talks, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Thursday.

“The Israeli government is behind this escalation,” Abbas said in a statement.

“The Israeli government is responsible for the (negative) impact on US and international efforts to restart negotiations.”

Abbas's remarks came ahead of a visit next week by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who aims to revive stalled Middle East peace efforts and hold fortnightly meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, according to local media.

The Palestinian Authority demands the cessation of Israeli settlement building on Palestinian territory before any talks can take place.

In a separate speech to his Fatah movement, Abbas also slammed Israel after clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the West Bank who demonstrated Wednesday over the death from cancer of a prisoner serving a life sentence in jail.

“Israel has full responsibility for the escalation in the Palestinian territories and is trying to ignite chaos,” he charged.

“Israel is trying to muddy the waters and sow chaos because there's no way peaceful demonstrations should lead to two deaths,” he added, after two teenagers were shot and fatally wounded in the West Bank by Israeli troops on Wednesday night.