As the deadline nears for American-brokered peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian authorities, months' worth of promising negotiations are beginning to unravel.
The negotiations are now on the brink of collapse following last week's crisis, which saw both sides turn their backs on previously agreed upon terms. (Via Al Jazeera)
Israeli authorities canceled plans to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, sparking violent protests across the West Bank. While widely unpopular in Israel, the plans to release prisoners were seen as a key provision by the Palestinian Authority. (Via CNN)
Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signed an appeal seeking membership into 15 international treaties and conventions in an attempt to bolster the status it gained in the United Nations in 2012 — something the leader agreed he would not do. (Via BBC)
Reports are mixed on which side actually reneged first, with both sides claiming it was the other who was first to go back on their word.
Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians would "achieve a state only through direct negotiations" with Israel, and that unilateral actions taken by the Palestinian Authority will be "answered by unilateral steps on our side." (Via Haaretz)
Although he did not specify what action Israel might take. The New York Times cites local media outlets as reporting:
"the county is preparing to block a mobile-phone company from entering the Gaza Strip and providing 3G service in the West Bank, and to cancel plans for some development projects in the West Bank."
The escalation in rhetoric from what once looked like a promising American-led peace effort has left U.S. officials with a sense of frustration as the predetermined nine-month negotiation window draws to a close.
Secretary of State John Kerry said it was "reality-check time" for negotiators Friday, and warned both sides that Washington is nearing the limits on the time and effort it can afford to spend on the current peace process. (Via CBS)
The current window to broker a peace deal is set to expire April 29th. A U.S. negotiator is set to meet with both sides Sunday in an attempt to revitalized the peace talks.