Palestinian negotiators have cancelled a planned round of peace talks with Israel in protest against a raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank in which Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians, including a UN worker, Al Jazeera reports. US State Department said they have no information about that cancellation and that “is essential for the negotiations to go forward”.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the raid began when a large force of the Border Police entered Qalandiya refugee camp Monday morning to arrest a terror suspect using commercial non-military vehicles.
Three Palestinians were shot and killed during the clashes. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, said one of its employees, a 34-year-old father of four, was among the dead. “Credible reports say that was on his way to work and was not engaged in any violent activity. He was shot in the chest,” said UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness, informed Haaretz.
After the funerals for the three victims there were new clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in Qalandiya checkpoint.
An US State Department spokesperson said that there was no cancellation of the negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis after the raid, but sounded very confused on specifics about if a meeting scheduled in Jericho was going to take place or not. About the Qalandiya refugee camp raid, she said that
“we’re still seeking the details of this incident. Obviously, we regret the loss of life and would urge restraint on both – or on all sides – excuse me. We believe it’s essential for the negotiations to go forward despite these kinds of incidents, as the parties have agreed to do. And again, these incidents underscore exactly why a final status agreement is even more important to address these issues at the negotiating table and why we’re working so hard to help the two parties do that”.
It’s difficult to negotiate while violent incidents like this one happen and other moves like Palestinian homes demolitions and new permits to build in settlements in the West Bank continue. At least 79 Palestinians have been displaced because of demolitions since last 19 August, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
To show some will to negotiate and reach an agreement, all kind of violence, demolitions and settlements expansions should stop during the talks. But is not the case. Apparently nothing changes on the ground, so is difficult to hope for changes on the negotiation table.