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Minister: Abbas refused Israeli offer of selective prisoner release
Published Monday 09/07/2012 (updated) 10/07/2012 16:25
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Abbas insists that all 123 prisoners held since before the 1994 Oslo
agreement be freed in a single release, Qaraqe said.
(MaanImages/Moti Milrod, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority Prisoners Minister Issa Qaraqe said Monday that President Mahmoud Abbas refused an Israeli offer for the staged release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for returning to peace talks.

Abbas insists that all 123 prisoners held since before the 1994 Oslo agreement be freed in a single release, Qaraqe said.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported earlier Monday that Israel offered to release some 25 Palestinian prisoners convicted of the murder of Israelis, followed by another 100 prisoners by the end of the year.

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu would authorize the gesture during or after a direct meeting with Abbas, not before, the report said.

Netanyahu's spokesman Ofer Gendelman denied the report of the prisoners offer.

Qaraqe said Abbas had turned down Israel's offer, and called on the Israeli government to implement a past agreement with Netanyahu's predecessor Ehud Olmert, who pledged the release of a large number of prisoners.

He said this deal was delayed until captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was freed, but since his release in October Israel has still not implemented the understandings with Olmert. Israel freed some 1,000 prisoners at the time, but Qaraqe differentiated between this exchange with Hamas and what had been earlier promised to Abbas.

Qaraqe also referenced the 1999 Sinai agreement between former president Yasser Arafat and Israeli premier Ehud Barak, which included a provision to release pre-Oslo prisoners.

The minister added that the President was refusing the deportation of any freed prisoner. In the October Shalit exchange, some 40 detainees were deported to third countries and 163 to Gaza.

Abbas is raising the issue of releasing pre-Oslo prisoners at all high level meetings with the international community, the minister added.

A presidential spokesman said last month that Abbas will only meet with Netanyahu if Israel agrees to free seriously ill prisoners, and those detained prior to the Oslo accords.

Negotiations have been frozen since September 2010, when Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on illegal settlement building.
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1 ) Me / Here
09/07/2012 13:13
Abbas, are you stupid or do you only care about yourself? Go to the meeting, free our brothers and sisters...and if nothing comes of the meeting, so be it. Why would you refuse and allow them to continue to be tortured in Israeli prisons?

2 ) Richard / UK
09/07/2012 13:28
Israel hasn't yet implemented the terms reached with the international community before it even gets down to bi-lateral talks. For example, UNSCR 242 is still outstanding - it required Israel to withdraw from occupied territory. It didn't say partial withdraw and it didn't grant Israel discretion to choose - it was very clear and required Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967. They've only done some of it so far.

3 ) Be Honest / Truth
09/07/2012 14:55
Even IF Israel released ALL 123 prisoners held since before the
1994 Oslo agreement be freed in a single release, and still more,
President Mahmoud Abbas will still refuse to return to peace talks,
unless he gets a 100% freeze in settlement contruction, and then
Even IF Abbas returns to peace talks, he will NOT sign any agreement,
that does NOT provide for an E. Jerusalem capital and refugee return,
so THERE IS NO POINT IN RELEASING EVEN ONE PAL PRISONER !!!


4 ) Will The Real Problem / Please Stand Up
09/07/2012 15:33
Abbas has said for years, that settlement construct is preventing him from resuming peace talks, and now it is "prisoners held before the 1994 Oslo agreement that prevent talks", so it is clear that Abbas is the problem, and
- even if Israel releases ALL prisoners, Abbas will NOT Negotiate, and
- even if Israel releases ALL prisoners & halts ALL settlement construction, Abbas will refuse to sign a peace/state agreement, without getting Israel to surrender E. Jerusalem & to refugee return !!!

5 ) @ Richard-2 / Res. 242
09/07/2012 16:56
Try to see some objective reason and fairness, where you, Palestinians, Arabs, Jews, and Israel all choose to interpret Res. 242 to their benefit, but:
-a- 242 Neither required a Complete withdraw, Nor a "partial* withdraw",
-b- 242 only said "a just settlement of the refugee problem", NOT return, &
-c- 242 said "Every state (Palestine didn't exist then either, but Israel did) within secure and recognized boundaries", rather than 1967 borders !!!

* Israel did withdraw from 85%

6 ) Tibi / Tubas
09/07/2012 17:37
Abbas refusing Israeli offers of compromise should be seen as both:
- foolish "steadfastness", like a donkey refusing to be pulled to drink, and
- foolishly refusing to create a Palestinian state now through compromise,
before Israel stops waiting for him to negotiate, and like Abbas threatens,
unilaterally creates a Palestinian Non-State in the absence of talks !!!


7 ) southparkbear / usa
09/07/2012 17:58
Richard try to practice telling the whole truth. here is 242 for you: "1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles: (i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrit

8 ) southparkbear / usa
09/07/2012 18:01
so Richard, 242 calls first to reaching just and lasting peace that will involve israel giving up territories. this can be some, part, little or all in short it is up to negotiation. the palestinians made it clear they are not interested in peace so israel is left to negotiate some future arrangement with jordan. They will take care of the palestinians issue as they did so well in the past

9 ) omar / AUE
09/07/2012 21:10
6 consecutive year Abass has insisted Israel government to release ill prisoners , and all prisoner held before 1994 Oslo agreement, indeed Israel government haven't accepted to stop settlements construction , building demolishing, refugee return.Abass has obligated to release all prisoners .he is account for releasing them.we are banking on him to get our rights .

10 ) Arnold / Canada
09/07/2012 21:39
Martyrs cause the cause ??

11 ) Yara / Palestine
09/07/2012 22:48
What's happening with Akram al-Rikhawi, Hasan Safadi, and Samer Al Arq?
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