PA official: Israel's failure to release prisoners torpedoed peace talks

April 2, 2014 11:20

Israel's failure to carry out a fourth release of Palestinian prisoners expected on Saturday lead to a breakdown of negotiations, a Palestinian official told Army Radio on Wednesday.

Palestinian Authority Minister for Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi expressed his pessimism over the continuation of talks between the sides past their April 29 deadline, and called on Israel to reconsider its position on the final installment of a commitment to release 104 long-serving prisoners as a gesture for resuming negotiations in July.

Qaraqi indicated that the Palestinian demand for Israel to free 14 Arab Israeli inmates in the release had served as a central reason for its failure to materialize.

He noted previous prisoner exchanges - included that for Gilad Schalit - in which Israel had released Arab Israelis, saying "this time, Israel turned this into a big problem."

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