Netanyahu orders halt to cooperation with Palestinian officials

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all 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.

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

The order came several hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in testimony Tuesday in front of the U.S. Senate placed the blame on both sides, though Israeli media played up the blame Kerry placed on Israel,

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

The Palestinian Authority said that it applied to the international conventions after Israel halted the scheduled release of about 26 Palestinian prisoners, the last in a four-phased release over the nine months of the peace talks.

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