Israel: Palestinians to blame for impasse in talks

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is displeased with a U.S. suggestion of sanctions against Israel over peace talks with the Palestinians.

U.S. envoy George Mitchell was asked in an interview what sort of pressure could be applied to Israel to pressure it to make concessions in negotiations.

Mitchell answered that under American law, “the United States can withhold support on loan guarantees to Israel.” But he added that he prefers persuasion to sanctions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says in response that it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who should be blamed for the negotiations impasse.

Under the previous administration, Israel received billions of dollars in guarantees, which are U.S.-backed loans with favorable interest rates.

The U.S. has cut them in the past over West Bank separation barrier construction.