Netanyahu offered 50 pre-Oslo terrorists for resuming negotiations, Abu Mazen demanded all in exchange for a meeting
This is going to make it even harder for US Secretary of State John FN Kerry to blame Israel when there are no talks with the 'Palestinians.' As if that won't stop him from trying.... A year ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu offered to release 50 of the 100-120 (I've now seen 107, 118 and 120) 'Palestinians' being held for pre-Oslo terrorism, mostly from the late '80's and early '90's. 'Moderate
Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen
turned it down and demanded that all of the terrorists be released in exchange for him agreeing to meet with Netanyahu once
to present his demands.
Today, a senior Palestinian official told The
Times of Israel, the Palestinians might agree to renew talks with Israel
if Netanyahu releases all 107 of the pre-Oslo veterans still in jail,
most of whom have blood on their hands.
The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment on the matter.
The Palestinian official, who asked not to be
named, is one of Abbas’s close associates. He said that the release of
all the pre-Oslo “veterans” is a “strategic” requirement for the PA.
Choosing his words carefully, he said their release could prove
sufficient to bring the PA back to the peace table, but he refused to
say so explicitly, and could not rule out additional Palestinian
conditions. In the past, Abbas has indicated that he would not return to
the talks while Israel continued building new settlement homes, and figures released on Sunday showed a sharp rise in building starts at settlements in the first three months of this year.
In the course of previous efforts to get the
asides back to the table, The Times of Israel has learned, Netanyahu
expressed willingness to release 50 of the long-serving prisoners
arrested before the Oslo Accords. The Israeli proposal was to free the
50 in three stages: 25 prisoners, then 15, then 10. These releases were
contingent on a resumption not merely of talks between the two sides,
but of direct meetings by Abbas with Netanyahu.
However, the Palestinians rejected the
idea. According to senior Palestinian sources, the release of only 50
prisoners of the pre-Oslo security prisoners was unacceptable, and all
had to go free.
On Monday evening,, Prime Minister Netanyahu accused the 'Palestinians' of setting preconditions to avoid talks
, while Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said that even Jordan's King Abdullah blames the 'Palestinians' for the lack of talks.
"The Palestinians are intentionally insisting on preconditions that
we cannot abide in order to prevent the start of negotiations,"
Netanyahu said. "As far as I'm concerned, setting preconditions is an
obstacle that cannot be passed."
Every time the government gave
the Palestinians what they demanded as preconditions for talks, they
made additional demands, the prime minister stated.
The real question, according to Netanyahu, is whether or not the Palestinians are willing to accept a state.
Monday, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman
(Likud Beytenu) expressed skepticism that there will be any
negotiations in the near future.
"There were attempts [to renew
talks] in the last government that didn't work. First, there was a
building freeze [in the settlements], and then King Abdullah of Jordan
made an effort," Liberman recounted.
"King Abdullah said how he
felt. I think he was very honest. He pointed a finger and said who is to
blame for lack of talks," the Yisrael Beytenu leader added, referring
to the Palestinians.
When Kerry leaves here with his tail between his legs, you can bet that Israel will be blamed anyway.
Labels: Abu Mazen, Avigdor Lieberman, Binyamin Netanyahu, John Kerry, Middle East peace process, negotiations without preconditions, Palestinian prisoners, unilateral concessions