RAMALLAH (AFP) -- US proposals on security presented by Secretary of State John Kerry will lead to the "total failure" of peace talks with Israel, a senior PLO official told AFP on Monday.
"These ideas will drive Kerry's efforts to an impasse and to total failure because he is treating our issues with a high degree of indifference," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the Palestine Liberation Organization, referring to the US diplomat's proposals on future security arrangements in the Jordan Valley.
His remarks were made just days after Kerry's latest visit to the region, which focused squarely on Israel's security needs in any future peace deal.
Proposals laid out by Kerry and his security adviser General John Allen were reportedly welcomed by the Israelis but were coldly dismissed by the Palestinians, with one official describing them as "very bad ideas which we cannot accept".
Commentators said the proposals would allow Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley, which runs down the eastern flank of the West Bank, in a move completely rejected by the Palestinians who claim it would make a mockery of their sovereignty and merely perpetuate the occupation.
"(Kerry) only wants to win over the Israelis and (allow) settlement expansion at our expense," Abed Rabbo charged.
Last Thursday, Israel's deputy defense minister Danny Danon ruled out the possibility of removing Israeli settlers and military forces from the Jordan Valley, which forms over a third of the occupied West Bank.
Danon also ruled out the possibility of having a Palestinian presence at border crossings with Jordan.Officials warn against delay to prisoner release
Meanwhile, Palestinian officials have warned against any delay to releasing a third group of Palestinian prisoners after Israeli media reports suggested the next stage could be postponed by a month.
Israeli daily Maariv said Monday that US Secretary of State John Kerry intended to delay the third release of prisoners to pressure the PA to accept proposed security arrangements.
"Not releasing the third group of prisoners will be considered a strike to the peace process and a mockery to the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis," PA minister of prisoners Issa Qaraqe said.
Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah also criticized the reports and said the PA would never accept any such delay, while Abed Rabbo said Israel must implement the agreement.
"We completely reject any postponement in releasing the third batch of prisoners who should be freed on December 29," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP by phone from Washington.
The second group of 26 prisoners was released from Israeli jails on Oct. 30 as part of a four-stage deal agreed upon in July which would see 104 prisoners set free.
Israel announced plans for 1,500 settler homes in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo immediately following the second release, having already announced plans for more than 2,000 new settler homes in tandem with the first release in August.
Addameer prisoner rights group said
in October that Israel must release all Palestinian prisoners as a precondition for peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Over 1,100 Palestinians have been detained since US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a return to peace talks in July, including the arrest of students and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the group says.Ma'an staff contributed to this report