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Fourth stage of prisoner release clouded with doubt
Published Saturday 04/01/2014 (updated) 05/01/2014 18:34
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(MaanImages/file)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As rumors circulate that Israel will refuse to release the final stage of 104 veteran prisoners, the Palestinian prisoners' minister says that would be a serious breach of agreement.

"From the very beginning, Israel reviewed the lists of prisoners to be released and approved them," Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an.

"In return, the Palestinian Authority agreed to abstain from filing complaints against Israel with international organizations, in order to go ahead with peace talks."

He said that if Israel refused to follow through with its agreement to release the fourth round of 26 prisoners, he would seek support from international organizations.

Of the 26 prisoners who are expected to be released in March, a number of inmates are Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. Israeli media and political analysts say the government will refuse to release them.

A Dec. 30 Channel 2 report cited unnamed Israeli officials as saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would refuse to release any "Israeli Arab" prisoners.

Israeli political analyst Eli Nissan told Ma'an that "the fourth group of prisoners will not include any Arab security prisoners."

The majority in Israel would oppose the release of such prisoners, Nissan said.

But President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that he remained committed to freeing all Palestinian veteran prisoners, including those with Israeli citizenship.

Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners jailed before the 1993 Oslo Accords in conjunction with US-mediated peace talks with the PLO. Tuesday marked the release of the third round of prisoners.

According to the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, 5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013.
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
04/01/2014 13:39
Palestine is already threatening to leave the peace talks, so whats the big deal about threatening not to release more convicted murderers? Since Oslo was signed in 1993 the Palestinians have committed thousands of war crimes, murdering over a thousand Israeli cvilians. It looks like its time to make the Palestinians responsible for these crimes, and put their leaders - Fatah and Hamas - on trial at the ICC. That may be the only way to get new capable Palestinian leadership who aren't corrupt.

2 ) Rafael / USA
04/01/2014 17:11
Israel said all along that if the Palestinians are not serious about the negotiations they would have the right to stop the release of the convicted killers from prison. The Palestinians are refusing to end the conflict so why would Israel release people who will only go back to killing Israelis

3 ) Marianne Fleur / Belgium
04/01/2014 19:09
The same hasbara American on the track. Not tired? We don't buy your comments...

4 ) matt / usa
04/01/2014 19:34
typical complaining. abbas and the pa have given zero in return for the released prisoners. in fact while they talk peace they also talk war. not to mention hamas.

5 ) Outlier / USA
04/01/2014 19:50
Israel awaits a serious Palestinian response towards peace in return and has received - as far as anyone outside the negotiations can tell - nothing tangible yet. Either the PA does not understand it must give some to get some in negotiations, or - having made grandiose promises - it feels it cannot give. Either way, without change, the current situation - detrimental to a future Palestinian state - will continue

6 ) Reality Check / World
05/01/2014 00:51
#5 There never has been a serious Palestinian response towards peace and there wont be for many years to come. After decades of propaganda and religious indoctrination, any leader that would seriously entertain the idea of peace with Israel, would be assassinated within months, and would most likely lead to civil war in "Palestine". No matter what deal is hammered out, the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel and that will be a huge miracle, especially in todays Middle East.

7 ) Jim Hyder / USA
05/01/2014 22:14
Palestine has recognized the fact of Israel and has said so in 1988. They have also said they will be happy to commit to a two state solution but, on the green line borders for both Gaza and West Bank. The hangup is on all the settlements in the West Bank plus the Wall of Shame that snakes onside the Green Line cutting off Palestinian farms. And reparations in accordance to the Unite Nation Resolutions.
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