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Palestinian Official: We Will ‘Never’ Again Negotiate With Israel

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Palestinian National Authority (P.A.) says it will never again negotiate with Israel in direct talks over the ongoing conflict.

P.A. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki made the drastic claim Monday while visiting officials in Japan with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Negotiations between Israel and the P.A., which governs portions of the Palestinian territories, faltered in April 2014 leading to deteriorating relations ever since.

“We will never go back and sit again in a direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” said al-Malki.

Al-Malki’s comment seems to be a response to a speech made by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Saturday which called for direct negotiations during a visit to Israel by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. The intent of Power’s visit is to hopefully re-engage talks over a two-state solution.

Instead, al-Malki said the P.A. would leave the possibility for multi-lateral talks open. He did, however, warn he believes the current situation in the territories could lead to possible infiltration by Islamic State elements.

“If Daesh [ISIS] take advantage of lack of any brokers … then of course, they might come and try to fill it,” said al-Malki. “This is very dangerous.”

There has already been some evidence that Hamas, the terrorist group which currently runs the Gaza strip, is already engaging with ISIS by providing medical services to fighters coming from Egypt’s Sinai region.

Conflict between Israel and the Palestinians became violent shortly after peace talks fell apart in 2014. Hamas rocket attacks emanating from the Palestinian Gaza strip on Israeli civilians led to Israel engaging in Operation Protective Edge. The operation lasted from July 8 to Aug. 27 and resulted in the deaths of around 2,100 Palestinians, 66 Israeli soldiers and seven Israeli citizens.

While an all-out conflict such as Operation Protective Edge has not occurred since, there have been several Palestinian knife and car attacks on Israeli citizens in recent months.

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