Erekat calls on Israel to release Hamas's Dweik, 23 others

Israeli and PA negotiators meet in Jordan for fourth time; PA delegation accuses Israel of arresting Palestinian parliamentary speaker in effort to torpedo Palestinian reconciliation efforts.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat 311 (R) (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat 311 (R)
(photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held talks in Amman on Saturday, in a meeting which saw Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat call on Israel to release dozens of Palestinian lawmakers held in detention by Israel, AFP quoted a Palestinian official as saying on Sunday.
Chief among the prisoners Erekat called on Israel to release was Palestinian parliamentary speaker Aziz Dweik, a Hamas member arrested on Thursday. IDF soldiers arrested Dweik on suspicion of involvement with terrorist groups, and detained another lawmaker of the group from Bethlehem, Khaled Tafish.
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The meeting in Amman between Erekat and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho marked the fourth such round of talks sponsored by Jordan and the Quartet, intended to bring the sides back to direct negotiations.
"Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat gave a letter to the head of the Israeli delegation Yitzhak Molcho calling on the Israeli government to immediately release Dweik and more than 23 other Palestinian lawmakers," AFP quoted the Palestinian official as saying.
The Palestinian delegation to the Amman talks accused Israel of arresting Dweik in order to strike "a blow to internal Palestinian reconciliation" between Hamas and Fatah, according to AFP.
Hamas urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday to suspend exploratory peace talks with Israel following Israel's arrest of the two Hamas legislators, and to stop his cooperation on West Bank security with the Israelis.