U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has informed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is considering another trip to the region to try and patch up the talks.
This past Friday Israel proposed a new deal to extend the talks with the Palestinian Authority past the April 29 deadline in lieu of freeing a final group of 30 PA terrorist prisoners.
There are rumors the proposal includes the release of hundreds of more PA prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails, but no reports have been confirmed.
PA officials did not reveal the details of the proposal to international news agencies Sunday but said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is reviewing a draft of the plan.
The final 30 Arab prisoners were to be released from Israeli jails last week as part of a four-step process launched at the outset of the talks on condition the PA actively participated in the negotiations in good faith.
But Israel has seen little reciprocal movement from PA leaders. As a result, the government last week blocked the final tranche, especially since the tranche included 20 Israeli Arab citizens contested by a block of ministers from the start.
PA officials this weekend told the A-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper they expect the United States to pressure Israel into releasing the terrorists. “The leadership does not want to enter immediate conflict and appear responsible for the breakdown of the negotiation process,” the source said.
Netanyahu has warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that his coalition may disintegrate if the prisoners are freed.
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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