U.S. Gambit on Mideast Peace Talks Falters

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Palestinians Request Treaty Memberships in Defiance of Israel

Palestinian officials formally asked the United Nations on Wednesday [to] join 15 international treaties and conventions, a move that further imperiled the Obama administration’s campaign to forge a Middle East peace agreement.

Letters containing the requests, signed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, were delivered to Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, in the West Bank city of Jericho and are part of an effort by the Palestinians to achieve statehood status outside of negotiations with Israel.

The Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization said Wednesday’s requests didn’t signify the Palestinians’ withdrawal from U.S. sponsored talks with Israel, which are facing an April 29 deadline to agree on a framework for final-status talks.

Israel’s delay on the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners had freed the Palestinian officials of their commitment to freeze the treaty application process, the agency’s statement said.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

convicted American spy, Jonathan Pollard,

Speaking with reporters in Brussels late Tuesday, Mr. Kerry said it was “completely premature” to declare the peace talks finished following Mr. Abbas’ announcement of the Palestinians’ treaty bid and a U.S. move to negotiate the release of a convicted American spy, Jonathan Pollard, in a last-gasp effort to win more concessions from Israel.

A formal breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which the White House stressed hasn’t occurred, would throw into turmoil President Barack Obama’s second-term foreign-policy agenda, already reeling from rising tensions with Russia and an inability to stop the civil war in Syria.

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