Abbas Freezes Peace Talks With Israel

Says negotiations won't resume until offensive on Palestinians ends
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 2, 2008 1:24 PM CST
Palestinian Red Crescent workers take blood from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a blood-donor drive for the Gaza Strip, at his headquarters in Ramallah, Sunday, March 2, 2008. An Israeli...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas halted peace talks with Israel today “until [Israeli] aggression is stopped,” Reuters reports. Abbas ordered the suspension of the US-brokered talks as Israel’s Gaza offensive continued and the Palestinian death toll topped 100. But Israeli PM Ehud Olmert showed no sign of relenting, calling Israel's actions self-defense.

“Israel is interested in negotiations but not at the price of giving up our right to protect Israeli citizens,” Olmert said, even as anti-Israel protests began in the West Bank. The US also called for an end to the violence; Condoleezza Rice will meet with Abbas and Olmert later this week, hoping to broker a deal before President Bush leaves office.