Kerry to hold Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Rome
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, in Rome on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department has said.
Mr Livni has a special responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Mr Kerry will also meet Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Rome.
The meetings are part of Kerry's effort to find a way to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which fell apart in 2010 in a dispute over Israel's construction of Jewish settlements on West Bank land the Palestinians want for a state.
Hamas said it welcomed the resignation of that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zhuri said Fayyad left the government in debt and downplayed the resignation's impact on the unity talks with Fatah:
The acceptance of Salam Fayyad resignation has nothing to do with the unity agreement but it is related to the conflict between Fatah and Salam Fayyad and that was explained during the latest revolutionary committee meeting for Fatah movement where there was a demand for the dismissal of Salam Fayyad because of the conflict between the two sides. Regarding to the unity agreement it is in the hands of Fatah movement whenever it is ready to fulfil the agreement totally and stop picking what it wants. Salam Fayyad has gone from the government after he left our nation with a lot of debt.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad quit yesterday after months of tension with President Mahmoud Abbas, leaving the administration in disarray just as the United States tries to revive peace talks with Israel.
Abbas, who has been unhappy with Fayyad's handling of the cash-strapped government, accepted the resignation and asked Fayyad to stay on as caretaker until a new government is formed, according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Palestinian law requires the president to appoint a new prime minister within two weeks. Mr Fayyad, a Texas-educated former World Bank official, is credited with helping create institutions in the occupied West Bank.
UN warns Israel settlements 'could amount to war crimes'
United Nations human rights investigators have called on Israel to halt settlement expansions and withdraw all Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, as its actions are violate international law. French judge Christine Chanet, who led the inquiry said:
Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions. It must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT (occupied Palestinian territories)
Investigators said the settlements violate Geneva Conventions forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory, which could amount to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).