Palestinians suspend peace talks with Israel after 3 killed near Ramallah

Palestinians suspend peace talks with Israel after 3 killed near Ramallah
# 26 August 2013 17:31 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Palestinians have officially suspended a fourth round of direct peace talks with Israel in protest of killing three Palestinians earlier Monday, APA reports quoting Xinhua

The Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli soldiers who stormed Qalandya refugee camp in northern Ramallah.

Hours after the incident, Yasser Abed Rabbo, an official in Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), announced in a press statement that the Palestinian side decided to call off the round of direct peace negotiations scheduled to be held on Monday in the West Bank town of Jericho.

"We decided not to go to the scheduled round of talks today in protest of killing three Palestinian young men in Qalandya," Abed Rabbo said, adding that "the ongoing Israeli escalation of violence against our people can't be justified and it only aims at toppling the efforts to resume the peace negotiations."

The killing of a Palestinian young man in Jenin last week and the killing of three young men near Ramallah on Monday had outraged many Palestinians, mainly the factions and political powers that are basically against the resumption of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, a well-informed Palestinian source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed a strong letter of protest to the United States Administration against the Israeli violations in the West Bank.

"President Abbas urged the United States to immediately intervene to avoid more violent consequences among the populations in the West Bank," said the source, adding that President Abbas considered what happened on Monday "as an Israeli violation to the negotiations."

Later on Monday afternoon, hundreds of Palestinian mourners buried the bodies of the three Palestinian young men that were shot dead by the Israeli soldiers' gunfire. The mourners carried the bodies, wrapped with Palestinian flags and buried them in the cemetery near Ramallah.

Outraged mourners chanted slogans of revenge and slogans against Israel and against the resumption of peace talks. They waved flags, while masked gunmen fired into the air before the funeral reached the Israeli military checkpoint outside Qalandya refugee camp.

Medical sources and witnesses said that Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians and wounded two dozens during clashes in the West Bank city of Ramallah earlier on Monday morning, where witnesses said the clashes broke out when the Israeli troops stormed Qalandya refugee camp near Ramallah.

Witnesses said that residents of the camp pelted rocks and empty glass bottles at the Israeli forces. Jamal Lafi, a witness, told Xinhua that the Israeli troops responded with live ammunition, where the Israeli army said that storming the refugee camp was part of the military's regular raids in the West Bank.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Bitawy, director of Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah, told Xinhua that Robin Fares, 30, was killed with a gunshot in the chest and another two teenagers died of their injury in the head. He added that four of the wounded were in critical condition.

Nabil Abu Rdineh said in a briefed media statement published by the official state-run news agency "Wafa" that the Palestinian leadership condemns the attack on Qalandya refugee camp, where three Palestinians were killed and more a dozen were injured, four in critical conditions.

"The series of the violent Israeli crimes and the new Israeli tenders to build more settlements together are a clear Israeli message to the real Israeli intentions towards the peace process," Abu Rdineh said, adding "there will be negative reactions to such criminal activities."

Meanwhile, Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, condemned the killing of three Palestinians and wounded more than a dozen earlier on Monday in clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian demonstrators near Ramallah.

"The incident is a natural consequence to the resumption of the so-called peace talks with the occupation (Israel) which were resumed one month ago," Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said in an emailed press statement, who called on the Palestinians "to avenge the crime."

Abu Zuhri slammed the PNA for keeping the talks going on with Israel, while the latter keeps killing the Palestinians. He called on Palestinian leadership to give a free hand to the militants to resume their attacks on Israel "to protect our people from the occupation's crimes."

Ahmed Rafiq Awad, the West Bank-based political analyst, told Xinhua that Israel wants to get rid of resuming the peace talks by increasing its settlement activities and escalating violence in the West Bank, adding "Israel is pushing the Palestinians to withdraw by themselves from the direct negotiations."

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