by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly
RAMALLAH, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians on Wednesday accused Israel of trying to sabotage the Middle East peace process after an Israeli security guard of a Jewish settlement shot dead before dawn two Palestinians in the neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s executive committee, told Voice of Palestine radio that "Israel really wants to get back to the atmosphere of tension and confrontations to eliminate the climate of the talks held in Washington, Sharm el-Sheikh and Jerusalem."
Israeli police and Palestinian witnesses said earlier on Wednesday that a security guard of a Jewish settlement near the neighborhood of Silwan opened fire at a Palestinian car that drove in the area, killing one Palestinian and wounding two others, one of the wounded died later.
A police spokesman told Israel Radio that the Israeli guard opened fire and shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian, adding that the guard said he opened fire after dozens of Palestinians stoned his car.
"It is not only the Palestinians, but also the whole world who condemn and reject such violent actions against the Palestinians," said Abed Rabbo, adding "the Israeli side only knows to put obstacles to blow up the political process through such actions."
Palestinian witnesses in Silwan said violent clashes erupted between dozens of Palestinians and Jewish settlers, during which Palestinians threw stones at the settlers' cars before the Israeli security guard of the settlement opened fire and killed two Palestinians.
According to the witnesses, the 32-year-old Samer Serhan died after an Israeli doctor arrived at the scene to treat him. The other two wounded were taken to an Israeli hospital, and one of them died later of his wounds.
Fakhri Abu Biab, a member of the Palestinian Committee to Defend Silwan, told Xinhua that the situation in Jerusalem is deteriorating due to the violent confrontations that erupted in several neighborhoods in Jerusalem between the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers and the police.
Jerusalem is a major permanent status issue of the Palestinian- Israeli talks. The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future Palestinian state, while Israel says the unified holy city is Israel's eternal capital.
Although the U.S.-sponsored direct talks began on Sept. 2 in Washington, Israel and the Palestinians still have disputes and differences over many issues, mainly the question of freezing settlement constructions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel insists that the 10-month moratorium of settlement constructions in the Palestinian territories, which ends on Sept. 26, won't be extended. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened this week that he would quit the negotiations if Israel didn't extend the moratorium.
Meanwhile, Jamal Muheisen, a member of Fatah's central committee, told Voice of Palestine radio on Wednesday that Israel "is apparently heading towards escalating violence and carry out actions that will undermine the peace process."
"Killing two Palestinians in Jerusalem on Wednesday and one Palestinian in Tulkarem two days ago, keeping 8,000 prisoners in its jails, confiscating lands and continuing settlement are all indicating that Israel is not interested in achieving peace in the region," said Muheisen.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhom said in a press statement emailed to Xinhua that "what happened in Silwan and the entire Palestinian territories is a clear indication that the occupation government ( Israel) is using the peace talks to carry out these crimes."
"All this is taking place amid an Arab silence and the continuation of the absurd talks held between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel, in the meantime, PNA strengthened the security cooperation (with Israel) to uproot the armed Palestinian resistance," said Barhom.
"If the Palestinians are united and Hamas ends its takeover of the Gaza Strip and the current destructive internal rift, I believe that we will be able to put an end to the Israeli violence and other actions it practices against our people," said Muheisen.
Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts