'Abbas to tell Obama: Israel must free Barghouti, Sa'adat for peace talks to continue'

'Al-Hayat' reports that Abbas will demand confidence-building measures from Israel as a condition to extending peace talks.

By YASSER OKBI
March 17, 2014 08:38
2 minute read.
Barghouti Sadat Fatah

Jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti (L) and PFLP chief Ahmed Sa'adat. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

In Monday’s scheduled meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will reportedly demand that Israel halt all construction in West Bank settlements as well as release high-profile Palestinian leaders who were convicted of terrorist atrocities, among them Tanzim chief Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa’adat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all as a condition for Ramallah’s agreement to continue peace talks with Jerusalem.

According to the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper Al-Hayat, Abbas wants to present his people with a significant political achievement, hence he will spell out his terms to Obama as a way to “break the ice” between the two leaders.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the PA are due to run their originally scheduled nine-month course by the end of April, with Washington seeking both sides’ signatures on a framework agreement that would allow the talks to continue.

According to Al-Hayat, if Abbas’ terms are accepted by the Israeli government, the Palestinians would acquiesce to extend the talks to the end of this calendar year.

Observers believe that Abbas will reject Kerry’s framework proposals, though he will be flexible regarding other American proposals that would permit the negotiations to continue beyond the nine-month deadline, according to Al-Hayat. Specifically, the Palestinian leader is seeking additional confidence-building measures by the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Thus far, the Palestinians have refused Kerry’s proposal for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Ramallah has also balked at an Israeli military presence within a future Palestinian state on the West Bank.


A senior Palestinian official told Al-Hayat that Ramallah believes the Americans and Israelis have coordinated positions on the framework proposals, and that Netanyahu’s public opposition to the parameters is “a maneuver that will enable American pressure on the Palestinian side.”

Abbas aides reportedly said that the Palestinian leader anticipates pressure from Obama to agree to the US proposals, but Ramallah will insist on a freeze in settlement construction and the release of elderly, ill, and female prisoners as well as those held in administrative detention.

Palestinian observers believe that Abbas is hoping to secure Barghouti’s release so that he could groom him to be his successor as head of Fatah. Given that the Palestinian leader has yet to anoint a replacement, it is assumed that tapping Barghouti would be a popular move on the Palestinian street.

Barghouti is serving five life terms in prison for his role in attacks that killed and wounded several Israelis during the second intifada. Sa'adat has been jailed since 2008 for planning the murder of former tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN