Abbas suspends talks with Israel
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended peace negotiations with Israel on Sunday, demanding it end a Gaza offensive that has killed more than 100 Palestinians, many of them civilians.
Israel said it was acting in self-defense in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to curb constant cross-border rocket attacks by militants and threatened to intensify its ground and air campaign despite allegations it was using excessive force.
Abbas had ordered “the suspension of negotiations … until (Israeli) aggression is stopped”, a senior aide to the Palestinian leader said in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
But he stopped short of declaring dead the U.S.-brokered statehood talks opposed by Hamas Islamists who seized control of the Gaza Strip from his Fatah movement in June.
Arye Mekel, spokesman for Israel’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said Abbas’s decision was a mistake and expressed hope the talks would resume “in the very near future”.
A 21-month-old Palestinian girl, two other civilians and three militants were killed in the latest fighting in the Gaza Strip, raising the Palestinian death toll in five days of bloodshed to more than 100, medical officials said.
Anti-Israeli demonstrations erupted in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces confronting stone-throwers near the town of Hebron shot dead a 14-year-old boy wearing a Hamas headband, witnesses said.
The answer is simple, Abbas, stop the terrorism in your own territory before you lash out at those who are retaliating against a terrorist government.