QALANDIA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian negotiators called off a planned round of peace talks Monday after Israeli soldiers killed three protesters during clashes following an arrest raid in the West Bank, officials said.
The violence, the deadliest incident in the area in years, dealt a new blow to U.S.-led peace efforts, which resumed late last month after a nearly five-year break. Palestinian officials have accused the Israelis of stonewalling and using the process as a cover to build new Jewish settlements.
It was not known when talks will resume, but Palestinian officials said that they could begin again as early as Tuesday. They spoke anonymously as they were not authorized to talk to media.
Monday’s clashes broke out when Israeli forces entered the Qalandia refugee camp, just outside of Jerusalem, on an overnight arrest raid.
Shai Hakimi, a spokesman for the paramilitary border police, said hundreds of Palestinians poured into the streets and hurled firebombs, concrete blocks and rocks at officers.
The Israeli military said soldiers rushed to the scene to provide backup and opened fire after they felt their lives were in “imminent danger.”
An official at a Ramallah hospital confirmed three deaths and more than a dozen wounded. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Hatim Khatib, whose brother Youssef was arrested in the raid, told The Associated Press that undercover troops dressed in civilian clothes arrived at their home at 4:30 a.m. looking for the brother.
“After half an hour we started hearing shooting from the soldiers inside our house, and then people started throwing stones at them,” he said.
Youssef was arrested after he returned from morning prayers at 7:00 a.m., he said.
He said he didn’t know why his brother was the only one arrested but said Youssef had spent time in Israeli jail for throwing rocks and was released three years ago. The Israeli military would not say why he was wanted.
The violence drew fierce Palestinian condemnations. “Such a crime proves the need for an urgent and effective international protection for our people,” Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in a statement.
Shortly afterward, Palestinian officials said that a planned round of peace talks had been called off. They said the Palestinians were protesting the day’s violence, and were also upset by an Israeli announcement Sunday that it was pushing forward with new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians object to construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the lands they claim along with the Gaza Strip for their future state. Israel captured all three territories in 1967. It was not immediately known when talks would resume.
A Palestinian official said the talks have gotten off to a rocky start, with the sides still arguing over the agenda.
The Palestinians want discussions to focus on security issues and the border between Israel and a future state of Palestine. The official said the Israelis have insisted on limiting talks only to security matters. He spoke on condition of anonymity because both sides have promised U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to keep the details of the negotiations secret. Israeli officials declined comment.
Kerry is expected to meet Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Rome on Sept. 8 to help push negotiations forward, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A business fire shut down a section of Route 422 in Pennsylvania Wednesday evening.
A cold front will drop a little snow tonight. Very cold air is behind the front and Thursday's high temperature will be about 20 degrees colder than normal.
A Youngstown women's spiritual group held its annual Christmas celebration Wednesday.
Could the Affordable Care Act place a financial hardship on the men and women now risking their lives to keep us safe from fire?
Local clergy support Time magazine's choice in naming Pope Francis as its Person of the Year.
A group of Hubbard High School students spent the day Wednesday doing art projects with kids with developmental disabilities.
Local non-profits are teaming up with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport this week.
The ringing of the Salvation Army bell for the Red Kettle Campaign is a familiar sound November through December, but this year donors are slow to answer the call.
Two people were injured after a vehicle went off the road on Route 11 in Trumbull County.
A man accused of killing his girlfriend more than twenty years ago and found to be insane at the time of the murder is going to be re-evaluated.
A special religious event was held at Cardinal Mooney High School on Wednesday.
Scofflaws who run red lights in Pittsburgh will soon run the risk of being caught on camera.
A teenager has been charged in connection to an armed robbery and shooting outside of a beverage store in Warren.
One person was killed after crashing into a light pole in Youngstown.
A Boardman firefighter was treated for an injured ankle after battling a house fire Tuesday night.
UPDATE: Police have arrested a teenager in connection to a Sunday night shooting at a Warren convenience store that injured another teen.