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Ismail Haniyeh speaks to crowd of thousands in Gaza City
Palestinians hope prisoner release delay will be brief
Published Saturday 29/03/2014 (updated) 31/03/2014 16:01
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Relatives of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons hold portraits
of their loved-ones and flash the sign for victory as they
demonstrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 27,
2014 (AFP/File Abbas Momani)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- A senior Palestinian official said a release by Israel of Palestinian prisoners would not go ahead on Saturday as envisaged but he hoped there would only be short delay.

"Today the prisoners will not be released ... maybe in the coming days," Issa Qaraqe, the minister of prisoners' affairs, told AFP.

"We have told the families of the prisoners that they will not be released today," he added."

"There are efforts to solve the crisis and I believe that in 24 hours everything will be clearer."

Under the deal that relaunched peace talks last July, Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinians held since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords in exchange for the Palestinians not pressing their statehood claims at the United Nations.

So far, Israel has freed 78 prisoners in three batches but ministers had warned they would block the final release, which had been anticipated for Saturday, if the Palestinians refused to extend the talks beyond their April 29 deadline.

There has been no official Israeli update on the last batch of prisoners, which the Palestinians want to include Palestinian citizens of Israel, a demand hotly opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right coalition partners and by hardliners within his own Likud party.

The cabinet convenes on Sunday morning for its weekly meeting.

Palestinian official Jibril Rajub, a member of Fatah's central committee, told AFP Friday that "the Israeli government has informed us through the American mediator that it will not abide with its commitment to release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday 29."

The peace talks have been teetering on the brink of collapse, with Washington fighting an uphill battle to get the two sides to agree to a framework for continued negotiations until the end of the year.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met Abbas in Amman on Wednesday in a bid to salvage the talks, with US special envoy Martin Indyk meeting the Palestinian leader in Ramallah a day later.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Friday denied reports that negotiations had already collapsed.

"Any reports that suggest the talks are off are inaccurate," she told journalists covering a visit to Saudi Arabia by Kerry and President Barack Obama.

"Ambassador Indyk and the negotiating team remain closely engaged with both parties on the ground and will continue to work over the coming days to help them bridge the gaps and determine the path forward."

Israeli media say Netanyahu could give a green light to the prisoner release if the US frees Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in Washington in 1985 and condemned to life imprisonment for spying on the United States for Israel.

Israel is not commenting on such reports, with Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev saying only that in general the spy's fate is "often raised at high-level meetings between Israelis and Americans."

On Wednesday, Psaki said "there are currently no plans to release Jonathan Pollard."
1 ) LOL Mustafa Barghutti just / announced that
29/03/2014 12:42
the day after the 4th release--the Palestinians are going to UN they will request to be partners in 123 (!!)) separate comittes and sub organization of UN thus will CIRCUMVENT ISRAEL REFUSAL TO GIVE THEM A STATE the question , of course, will be their existence on the ground if ISRAEL FORBIDS Hundreds of thousands of PALESTINIANS FROM WORKING IN ISRAEL who will feed those mouths?! (those 123 committees?!)

2 ) @ LOL-1 / UN Realities
29/03/2014 16:00
* "CIRCUMVENTING ISRAEL" ATTEMPTS WILL FAIL MISERABLY, AND: -1- Any of the "123 separate committees and sub-organization of UN" will lose most of their funding by accepting "Palestine", and they will be UNable to sustain even themselves, after the "Palestine financial hit". -2- The UNRWA is likely to dissolve into the UNHCR (like other refugees), with "Palestinians" no longer getting any special consideration, and -3- The World will forget about creating a Palestinian state Permanently.

3 ) Arnold / Canada
29/03/2014 16:15
As we can see now the PA was negotiating in bad faith. There was never a true negotiating plan with the PA. It was get the prisoners out and then walk away from the table. Israelis are not dummies.

4 ) Tibi / Tubas
29/03/2014 21:29
The "prisoner release delay will be" until either: - their FULL prison TERMS are served, and their debts paid, OR else - their DEATHS, which ever comes first, or possibly - the Authority of Palestine reaches a comprehensive peace agreement, with the State of Israel, on terms (Palestine gets Neither E. Jerusalem, 1967 borders, Nor Refugee Return) acceptable to Israel.

5 ) The Great Divide / Reality
29/03/2014 23:46
- Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry that "releasing more terrorists could doom his coalition", and probably - Abbas told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Not "releasing more terrorists" would prevent any further peace talks, - THERE WILL BE NO more early terrorist releases, no more peace talks, and thus no CREATION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE EVER.

6 ) @3 arnold hiding zio in canada / USA
30/03/2014 00:09
gongrates little mouth in Canada, you wonderful zio entity has stole twice as uch of Palestine as last yr. and never stopped steal even for peace talks,,,,the zio trash saw it as a cover to 'steal more land' which is the only religion you khazar invaders know

7 ) @1 & 2...why so nervous? / USA
30/03/2014 00:11
doing the zio a-go-go? you soon be gone gone from the illegal squat idiot

8 ) Four Things / Never To Happen
30/03/2014 04:08
Palestinians should DROP their FANTASY hopes, for both - Early "Prisoner Release", and - Palestinian Statehood, * UNLESS * their governments are willing to give something to Israel in return: - RECOGNITION of Israel as the Jewish Homeland (just as they want their state recognized as "Palestinian"), AND - SURRENDER of 1967 lines, East Jerusalem, and refugee return. And, in the real world, all reasonable expectations are that * THESE THINGS FOUR THINGS WILL NEVER HAPPEN, UNLESS ....

9 ) Johnny benson / USA
30/03/2014 06:12
One can not underestimate the resolve of the Arabs,and the anti semitism of the world...it will take every bit of smarts Israel and their supporters c an muster.remember Obama is unlike any president we have had.even jimmy carter.....but likely the Arabs will overplay their hand and blow away their momentum for the UN to win the day for them....lets hope so

10 ) Rami / Palestine
30/03/2014 08:51
#3 You do realize that the entire time that Israel has been "negotiating", it has also been killing Palestinian civilians, confiscating land and approving/expanding/building settlements, right? What do you call that? Suppose you and I were negotiating on how to split a pizza while I was eating every slice the entire time we were negotiating. Is that called negotiating in good faith to you? That's exactly what Israel is doing.

11 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
30/03/2014 12:16
Shalom to you Rami! "Israel" stinks and one day it will go down.

12 ) for beson closet USA zio / USA
30/03/2014 17:20
antisemetism refers to semites....like arabs NOT khazar polish invaders like you little boy

13 ) @ #7 / USA too
30/03/2014 23:52
- Zionists "hold all the cards" and any Palestinian with a working brain knows it too, so assure you Zionists are Not "nervous" at all, but - Soon the idea of creating a "Palestinian state" will be forgotten by the international community, and you know who's "so nervous" about that !!
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