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Israel walks over tightrope regarding prisoners release

English.news.cn   2014-03-30 17:25:41


JERUSALEM, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that any deal to release another group of Palestinian prisoners would be brought to the approval of the government.

In a meeting of ministers from Netanyahu's Likud party held prior to the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu assured his right- wing ministers that he will not make any steps regarding the prisoners' release without the approval of his ministers amid the attempt to extend peace talks.

"I suggest everybody avoids saying anything about this until the full picture is clarified and this could be a matter of days. Either this (the prisoners release) would come to an end or blow up. In any case there will be no deal without clear benefit for Israel and in any case a deal will be brought to the authorization of the government," the Walla! news website quoted Netanyahu as saying.

Israel and the Palestinians resumed negotiations last July for a defined period of time until the end of April. Amid the resumption of the peace talks, the Israeli government authorized the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority.

Three batches of prisoners had been released thus far since last August but the fourth group of 24 prisoners, who were set to be released over the weekend, was not released due to the faltering peace talks and amid pressures from the hawkish right- wing ministers of Netanyahu's parliament.

The Walla! news website reported on Saturday that Israel offered to release 400 Palestinian prisoners in addition to the fourth group of prisoners in exchange for six more months of negotiations and if the Palestinian Authority would not make any unilateral moves at the United Nations.

Israel's hawkish economy minister Naftali Bennett said "this will not happen" in response to the reports on Saturday. Other Likud and right-wing ministers also expressed their dissatisfaction from the reports.

In case a deal will be struck, an Israeli official told Xinhua that the prisoners' release will be carried out in the upcoming week.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have hit a dead end over Israel's ongoing construction in its West Bank settlements, on lands occupied amid the 1967 Mideast War, set to be part of a future Palestinian state in any future agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

In addition, Israel demands the Palestinian Authority will recognize it as a Jewish state and made some stern security demands during the negotiations.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. mediator to the peace talks Martin Indyk are incessantly trying to introduce a framework agreement that would outline the continuation of the talks on the core issues and extend the talks until the end of the year.

The core issues are the question of the Palestinian state's borders, the fate of the Palestinian refugees who fled their homes amid the 1948 war and the status of Jerusalem.


Editor: Fu Peng
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