Zionist regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a halt to high-level contacts with the Palestinians on non-security related issues, but exempted his chief peace negotiator from the ban, government officials said on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, the edict was part of Israel's response to what one official called the "Palestinians' grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks", an apparent reference to their signing of 15 international conventions last week amid a deep crisis in the U.S.-brokered negotiations.
Another official said Israeli cabinet members, directors-general of government ministries and other senior bureaucrats would no longer be allowed to meet their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
A spokesman for the PA said Israeli-Palestinian ministerial meetings were rare but voiced concern that the step could be followed by economic sanctions.
"This decision undermines all international efforts ... to revive the negotiations, to proceed with a constructive solution to the challenges facing the peace process," said PA spokesman Ehab Bseiso.
Meanwhile, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israeli Air Force's fleet is scheduled to receive its first US made new Lockheed-Martin C-130J transport plane dubbed Samson in Israel today.
The new plane is the first in a deal which aims to develop the Israeli Air Force military capabilities. According to the paper the military transport plane can carry 92 paratroopers with their equipment and four military vehicles and fly at lower altitudes than previous carriers.
Haaretz said that Israel will receive two additional transport planes of the same model in June next year.
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