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Israel shells UN school serving as shelter in Gaza, killing dozens
Poll: Palestinians favor extending talks if prisoners freed
Published Tuesday 25/03/2014 (updated) 26/03/2014 19:18
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(MaanImages/File)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- A majority of Palestinians would support extending peace talks with Israel beyond an April deadline, but only in exchange for the release of additional prisoners, according to a poll published Monday.

Without this condition, most Palestinians would reject extending the faltering negotiations, which have achieved no apparent progress in the nearly nine months since US Secretary of State John Kerry brought the two sides to the table.

Some 65 percent of 1,200 Palestinian adults interviewed this month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research would support talks running to the end of the year "if Israel agrees to release more Palestinian prisoners."

Israel pledged when talks began in July to release 104 veteran Palestinian prisoners in four batches, in exchange for the Palestinians refraining from pursuing legal action against Israel in international courts.

But after the release of a total of 78 prisoners so far, Israeli cabinet ministers have warned that the remaining prisoners will not be freed on March 29 unless the Palestinians agree to extend the talks beyond their April 29 deadline.

Palestinians have rejoiced at the releases, seeing the imprisonment as political, but Israelis have criticized the government for freeing men who were convicted of killing Israeli civilians.

Should there be no releases beyond the 104 already agreed, 55 percent of Palestinians would reject carrying on the talks, the survey said.

And a narrow majority of 51 percent would support talks continuing if Israel froze its settlement construction in the occupied West Bank -- a key sticking point that has angered Palestinian negotiators, and derailed the last round of talks in 2010.

The poll was conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between March 20-22, and had a three percent error margin.
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1 ) Rami / Palestine
26/03/2014 08:31
65% of 1,200 Palestinians are not a "Majority of Palestinians" when there are over 2 million in Gaza and over 5 million in the West Bank.

2 ) Rabiah / Gaza, Ps
26/03/2014 22:14
I don't think they polled anyone in Gaza.

3 ) Outlier / USA
29/03/2014 01:02
Even if the last group is not released, the Palestinian options are limited. If they quit the negotiating table now, eventually they will have to go back. Otherwise, the current situation continues indefinitely - a situation where the Palestinians lose ground, literally and figuratively, every year.
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