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John Kerry demands action over stalled Middle East peace talks

Israeli settlement plans put diplomacy on the rocks

Frustrated US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded action from Israeli and Palestinian leaders yesterday, claiming that it was time for them to demonstrate leadership in the crisis-hit peace talks.

But Israel almost immediately responded by announcing the outright cancellation of the fourth release of prisoners that it had already postponed, which had driven the Palestinians to resume their campaign for international recognition.

More than a year of intensive Kerry shuttle diplomacy had appeared to be on the brink of collapse after Israel announced a fresh wave of settlement tenders.

And the Palestinians are now in no mood to concede ground to Israel’s right-wing colonists.

Palestinian United Nations ambassador Riyad Mansour said on Wednesday that his government may also seek to join the International Criminal Court and other UN agencies.

Mr Mansour said the 15 international conventions the Palestinians are seeking to join was just a first group and more could follow depending on Israel's actions.

The present applications include the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the International Covenant on

Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and conventions against torture, corruption and the prevention of genocide.

"The leadership will observe and see how things unfold and will decide accordingly… on the basis of the interests of the Palestinian people," Mr Mansour said.

"We are not looking for a confrontation. We are exercising our rights and we will not be apologetic about that."


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