PA to Israel: Release Prisoners, Then We’ll Talk Peace

March 8, 2012  

The leadership of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement is once again demanding that Israel release terrorist prisoners as a condition for peace talks, it was reported on Thursday.

According to the report on Kol Yisrael radio, among the prisoners the Fatah is demanding to be released is Ahmed Saadat, who heads the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and who planned the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.

Saadat was sentenced in 2008 to 30 years in prison for heading the PFLP.

Kol Yisrael also reported that the Fatah Central Committee, which convened on Thursday afternoon, said that the resumption of negotiations is conditioned on Israel halting construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, accepting a two-state solution based on the indefensible pre-1967 borders and releasing prisoners, including senior leaders such as Saadat and arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

On Wednesday, PA leaders told Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, they will not resume peace talks with Israel, unless Israel freezes construction in Judea and Samaria.

Judeh was in Ramallah to explore the possibility of resuming talks, but Abbas reportedly told him there is no point in negotiating with Israel, arguing that there is not enough common ground to close a deal.

Jordan recently hosted a series of “exploratory meetings” between representatives of Israel and the PA. The peace process remains frozen as Abbas continues to impose preconditions on negotiations.

Last week it was reported that Judeh is set to deliver a letter in which the government of Israel and Palestinian Authority detail their conditions for peace talks to resume.

The letter repeats the PA’s previous demands, which are seen by Israeli officials as an excuse to forestall talks. These include a demand that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as a basis for future borders, release terrorists who were imprisoned before 1994, and halt settlement construction in the ‘disputed territories.’

The PA is also threatening to cancel all agreements signed after 2000 if Israel does not agree to their demands before peace talks.

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