Government ministers are deeply divided over whether to free a final fourth tranche of 26 Arab terrorists, a group which includes about 20 Israeli Arab citizens.
The move, scheduled for tomorrow as the last of a total of more than 100 Palestinian Authority terrorists, has created a serious coalition crisis for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview on Voice of Israel government radio this morning that a majority of ministers are overwhelmingly opposed to the release of Israeli Arab prisoners.
Bennett also maintained that the entire issue of the release “must be renegotiated.”
Intended originally as a “good will gesture” to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, each tranche was to be conditional upon his active participation in direct final status talks with Israel.
But that has not happened, and as the deadline for conclusion of the talks approaches, Abbas is again waffling about his commitment to negotiations, saying he instead intends to return to his starting position of no compromises at all.Hana Levi Julian