ramallah prisoner release 370.
(photo credit:Ben Hartman)
Even amid growing Israeli irritation at Palestinian leaks about negotiations,
officials in Jerusalem refused on Monday to respond when asked whether this
could jeopardize plans for Israel to release another group of PA
As part of the US-brokered July framework that led to direct
talks, Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinian security prisoners in four
stages over the planned nine months of negotiations.
The first batch of
26 terrorists was released last month, and a second group is due to be released
in the coming weeks.
One government official said the framework for the
talks stipulated that only the Americans could provide briefings on what was
happening in the discussions.
While Israeli officials are sticking
closely to those guidelines, not even revealing where or when the talks take
place, over the past 10 days there has been a cascade of leaks – apparently from
Palestinian sources – appearing in the Arabic press, leading to a formal Israeli
protest to US special envoy Martin Indyk before Rosh Hashana.
official acknowledged that another protest was likely since the initial one had
no impact. He refused to spell out what Israel would do if the leaks did not
cease, saying “we are not there yet” and that Israel had not issued any
The official said there were three fundamental problems with
the leaks. First, they violated a commitment the Palestinians took upon
themselves; second, that the leaks demonstrated bad faith; and third, that they
made more difficult talks that were already challenging enough as
“The leaks undermine the process,” the official said, adding that it
did not even matter whether their content was true or not.
leaks were reports that the talks were not going well, that Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu was offering “only” 90 percent of the West Bank, and that
Israel was demanding control of the border crossings with Jordan, as well as
early-warning stations in the Jordan Valley.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian
Authority on Monday accused Israel of destroying chances for peace by pursuing
construction in the settlements and “seizing” more land in the West
The latest accusation came hours after PA President Mahmoud Abbas
met in London with US Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed with him the
On Monday, Abbas also met with UK Foreign Secretary
William Hague and briefed him on the negotiations.
refused to release additional details about Abbas’s meetings with Kerry and
Hague, which were attended by Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian negotiating
team with Israel.
A PA official in Ramallah, however, told reporters that
Abbas had warned that Israel’s continued construction in the settlements would
lead to the failure of the peace talks.
The official said Abbas
reiterated his demand that a US representative attend all the negotiating
sessions between the PA and Israel.
A statement issued by the PA Foreign
Ministry warned that “Israel’s daily practices of settlement, Judaization and
aggression against the Palestinian people, which are carried out in broad
daylight, will lead to the failure and destruction of the
The ministry called on Israelis to “raise your voices
against occupation and settlements.”
It urged the international
community, especially the US Administration, to “act immediately to stop this
aggression, which destroys chances for peace and paves the way for plunging the
region into violence.”
The ministry called on all human rights and legal
organizations to follow the Israeli “violations” in preparation for prosecuting
Israelis before international courts.
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