Peace negotiators did not quit, Palestinian officials say in denying report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian officials denied a report that members of the Palestinian peace negotiating team resigned over Israeli settlement construction announcements.

The denial over the weekend followed the report late last week on the Palestinian Maan news website that lead negotiator Saeb Erekat and team member Mohamed Shtayyeh had resigned after Israel said it was building in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Some Palestinian groups had called for a halt to the peace talks over the announcements by Israel, which followed the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners from its jails as part of a confidence-building move for the talks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday in a bid to spur the 3-month-old talks, which are slated to last nine months.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has committed to the full nine months of talks with Israel, according to reports.

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