PMO: Israel-Palestinian prisoners deal is gesture to Abbas

Netanyahu's spokesperson says PA president requested Israel's cooperation to end the hunger strike; official says Israel watching how PA handles reinterment of Palestinian bodies released in the agreement.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370 (photo credit: Gali Tibbon/Pool)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370
(photo credit: Gali Tibbon/Pool)
Israel will transfer the bodies of 100 Palestinian terrorists to the Palestinian Authority in a matter of days for reburial as a confidence-building measure to move the sides back to negotiations, senior Israeli officials said Monday.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, discussed the transfer of the bodies Saturday night when he delivered a letter from Netanyahu to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. At that meeting Abbas also asked Netanyahu to resolve the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike and to agree to a prisoner- release exchange.
While Israel did not agree to the prisoner release, it did agree to the transfer of 100 bodies of terrorists, some of whom were involved in suicide bombings. This is an issue that was discussed in the past, but put on hold while Gilad Schalit remained in Hamas captivity.
The two sides, with the help of Jordan and Egypt, also reached an agreement on ending the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.
One official said that Israel would be watching how the PA handled the reinterment of the bodies, and did not want to see the terrorists treated as heroes.
The official said Israel went “the extra mile” and showed flexibility on two of the three issues that Abbas raised, and hoped that the PA leadership would appreciate the steps and would show “reciprocity.”
One way of showing reciprocity, the official hinted, would be to ensure that the terrorists who will be reburied are done so without the fanfare that accompanies the burial of national heroes.