Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, April 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Gali Tibbon, Pool)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered ministers to limit all but diplomatic and security contact with their Palestinian counterparts, an official said Wednesday, dealing another blow to faltering peace talks.The move comes a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry, who kick-started talks in July, blamed Israel for derailing the process by announcing new settlement construction in what he described as a "poof" moment in negotiations.Kerry on Tuesday blamed Israel's approval of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem on April 1 for the latest crisis in the negotiations, a charge that has left Israeli officials bristling.Israel briefly imposed the same crippling measure in December 2012 to punish the Palestinians' successful drive for observer state status at the United Nations, despite strong opposition from Israel and the United States.Israel was reportedly mulling sanctions against the Palestinians last week in response to its international treaties move.
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