Netanyahu orders halt to cooperation with Palestinian officials

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israeli government officials to halt cooperation with their Palestinian counterparts.

The action taken Wednesday is seen as reprisal for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordering his government officials to apply for membership to international bodies.

Netanyahu’s order reportedly does not include security cooperation, nor Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s contacts with Palestinian peace negotiators.

It came several hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying Tuesday before the U.S. Senate, placed the blame on both sides for the lack of progress in the current round of peace negotiations. Israeli media played up the blame that Kerry placed on Israel.

On Sunday, Netanyahu threatened that unilateral Palestinian actions would be met with unilateral Israeli measures.

The Palestinian Authority said it applied to the international conventions after Israel halted the scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners in the last of a four-phased release over the nine months of the talks.

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