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Israel orders ministries to end cooperation with Palestinians


JERUSALEM –  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ordered all ministries to cease cooperation with their Palestinian counterparts, as the sides increase tit-for-tat moves, while U.S.-brokered negotiations falter.

The measure came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had last week joined 15 international organisations and treaties, a move seen by Israel as a step towards recognition of Palestinian state.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been growing increasingly frustrated with the talks he was trying to broker.

At a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, he sharply criticised Israel over delays in releasing Palestinian prisoners and its subsequent announcement of 700 new settlement units in eastern Jerusalem.

A senior Israeli official said the decision to cut all high-level contact with Palestinian departments would not affect negotiations, which have been given a deadline for the end of the month.

According to Netanyahu, the decision also does not include security and humanitarian offices. (dpa/NAN)

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