Palestinian officials have imposed further precondition that they are demanding Israel fulfill before they will sit down for peace talks scheduled to begin next week in Washington. A Palestinian source spoke to the left-leaning gazette Ha’aretz to explain the new ultimatum:
The Palestinians will not take part in peace talks scheduled to begin in Washington on Tuesday, unless Israel commits to releasing veteran Palestinian prisoners, a senior Palestinian source has told Haaretz… He maintained, however, that the Palestinians would not participate in negotiations without a prior decision by Israel to release Palestinian prisoners imprisoned since before the Oslo Accords, including those with Israeli citizenship.
The source explained that Israel had already made a variety of concessions – including reportedly agreeing to the controversial demand that negotiations begin from Israel’s 1949 armistice lines – but that Palestinian negotiators would still insist on the release of over 100 so-called pre-Oslo prisoners jailed for attacking Israelis
The meetings in Washington are themeselves only preliminary in nature, and are publicly aimed at setting the agenda for future negotiations. Palestinian officials have nonetheless, throughout the week downplayed prospects, for their success.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that many “sticking points” remained before they could progress, while Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a top Palestinian Authority spokesman, emphasized that any peace deal with Israel would only bind the Palestinians temporarily.
[Photo: RogDel / Wiki Commons]