JERUSALEM, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Planned peace talks between Israel and Palestinians scheduled for Wednesday evening was postponed at the last minute, an Israeli official told Xinhua following reports on Israeli media.
According to the Ha'aretz daily report, the teams wanted to wait for U.S. Middle East Envoy Martin Indyk to return to the area and mediate the negotiations.
Also, Israel was reluctant about holding the meeting a day after an Israeli was shot dead near the West Bank on the night of the Passover holiday.
The meeting which was supposed to take place on Wednesday evening followed up on another meeting held by the parties on Sunday and several other meetings held last week.
Several hawkish far-right ministers urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the meetings amid the militant attack. Netanyahu himself blamed what he termed the incitement in the Palestinian Authority as trigger for the attack.
The current round of peace talks, which started last July and set to end by April 29, has been faltering due to Israel's refusal to release the last batch of Palestinian prisoners, the expansion of settlements and Palestinians' request to join 15 international conventions.
Netanyahu ordered government ministries last week to stop cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on civilian and economic matters and planned a package of economic sanctions against the Palestinians.
Israeli media last week provided mixed reports regarding possible progress in the talks. According to the Ha'aretz daily, the negotiators were brewing up a deal to continue the talks, including the release of Palestinian prisoners, a halt by the Palestinians in their attempts to join more international institutions and the U.S. releasing Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. citizen who passed information to Israel.
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials, however, cooled down the reports and said they were premature.
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