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Israeli peace negotiator: Stalemate bad for Israel
Tuesday - 5/21/2013, 2:58pm EDT
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's chief peace negotiator said Tuesday that the current stalemate with the Palestinians is harmful for Israel, days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in Israel for his latest push to restart long-dormant talks.
Tzipi Livni told a parliamentary committee that resuming negotiations was "first and foremost an Israeli interest."
Direct negotiations have been largely frozen since the two sides were reportedly close to a deal in late 2008. The Palestinians demand a freeze in Jewish West Bank settlement construction before talks resume. Israel insists negotiations should take place without preconditions and that the matter of the settlements should be resolved along with all other issues through peace talks.
Livni said the stalemate delivers a blow both to Israel's legitimacy and its freedom to act militarily if needed. She warned that the Palestinian narrative of the conflict is gaining traction.
Kerry is due in Israel Thursday to try and restart the stalled talks.
Also Tuesday, Israel's military said soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian as he threw a firebomb in the West Bank during a violent protest. The teenager's family says he was not involved.
The military said dozens of Palestinians threw rocks at soldiers near a settlement Tuesday when troops noticed a protester aiming a firebomb at them. Soldiers called on him to stop, then fired warning shots and later fired at his lower extremities when he refused, it said.
The wounded Palestinian's family said Ata Sharaki was playing with a friend next to the fence of the settlement when he was shot. They said he is 13 years old.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)