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Indyk Joined Israeli-Palestinian Negotiating Session, State Dept. Admits

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Martin Indyk, the U.S. envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has attended a negotiating session, the U.S. State Department said.

The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams reportedly will meet on Tuesday; they met Saturday in Jerusalem. The Palestinians had said last week that Indyk had not attended any of the sessions.

“Israeli and Palestinian delegations have been meeting continuously since final status negotiations resumed on July 29,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Sunday in a statement, according to Israeli media reports.

“The negotiations have been serious, and U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk and his team have been fully briefed on the bilateral talks and also participated in a bilateral negotiating session,” the statement said. “As we have said in the past, we are not planning to read out the details of these meetings.”

The peace talks have been under a nearly total media blackout, reportedly at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, since their resumption.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday told his Fatah party officials that the Palestinians are negotiating with Israel for a state on the pre-1967 lines with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, which he called a “red line,” Israel Radio reported.

Abbas also said the Palestinian Authority agreed not to seek statehood from and membership in international organizations in exchange for the release of 104 prisoners held in Israeli jails. He said negotiators will ask for the release of about 250 other prisoners as well.

Fatah official Nabil Shaath told the Palestinian Maan news agency on Monday that the peace talks have not made any progress, and that the Israeli side has not presented any new suggestions or proposals. He said the PA could turn to international organizations if negotiations do not bear fruit.

One session of the talks reportedly was postponed last week following the deaths of three Palestinians during clashes with Israeli troops in the Qalandiya refugee camp. The State Department denied there had been any change in the negotiation schedule because of the incident.

JTA

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