Abbas Freezes Peace Talks With Israel

Says negotiations won't resume until offensive on Palestinians ends
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2008 1:24 PM CST
Abbas Freezes Peace Talks With Israel
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 army offensive in Gaza has left nearly 70 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers dead in two days...   (Associated Press)

(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.

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“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. (Read more Israel stories.)

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