According to Israel Hayom, Livni and Erekat are trying to formulate a face-saving formula that would allow for the Palestinian prisoner release and extend the peace talks for at least two more months. The newspaper and other Israeli media sources reported that during the proposed extension, the Palestinians would temporarily suspend their unilateral moves at the UN while both sides work to define the borders of a future Palestinian state.
As of Tuesday this week, Kerry had not received word of any agreement concerning an extension between the two sides.
Kerry, Obama and Lieberman were set to discuss whether the U.S. should pull back from direct involvement in the peace process. There has also been no further mention of releasing Jonathan Pollard from prison as part of any deal between Israel and the PA. In an attempt to dissuade Israel from walking away from the deadlocked negotiations, Kerry broached the subject of Pollard’s release with Livni and Netanyahu. This move sparked heated criticism from Israeli politicians and members of Congress. The convicted American spy is eligible for parole next year.
For her part, Livni has staked her political career on her agreement with Netanyahu to lead the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. She has based her confidence to reach an accord on her past negotiating experience with Erekat and Abbas during her tenure as Israel’s chief negotiator during former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s government. Livni, whose Hatnua Party represents the most dovish element in Netanyahu’s governing coalition, has acknowledged in recent interviews that Abbas and Erekat have torpedoed the negotiations with their demands.Steve K. Walz
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