PA refers to Israel’s proposal as “blackmail”; John Kerry arrives in Israel Monday evening to meet with Netanyahu and Abbas
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly rejected Israel’s proposal to extend peace talks beyond the designated April 29th deadline. Reports from Ramallah from Monday are claiming the Palestinian Authority referred to the proposal as an attempt by Israel to “blackmail”.
The proposal offered a partial settlement freeze, the release of the fourth phase of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated before the Oslo Accords, as well as an additional 400 imprisoned Palestinians.
An official from the Palestinian negotiating team stated that, “Israel is practicing a policy of blackmail and linking its agreement to releasing the fourth batch of prisoners with the Palestinians accepting to extend the negotiations” confirming the PA’s refusal of the proposal, stating “Israel made a proposal which was refused by the Palestinians.”
The official stated that the proposal“includes a partial settlement freeze in the West Bank but excludes East Jerusalem, and would include continued building in areas where tenders have already been published.” Israel has been clear that Jerusalem is, and will remain the capitol of the Jewist State.
The official accused Israel of attempting to “continue the negotiations indefinitely, without any results, in parallel with continued settlement building” echoing Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’s accusations that Israel is “sabotaging” the United States’ efforts for a permanent peace deal, stating to the Arab League Summit last week that the Palestinians “don’t need a new cycle of agreements that Israel would bury under a series of conditions, reservations, explanations and interpretations.”
Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Israel Monday evening, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stating Monday, “After consulting with his team, Secretary Kerry decided it would be productive to return to the region.” It is the second time in two weeks Kerry has interrupted his tour in Europe to visit Israel in attempts to salvage peace talks amidst the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to cooperate.
A Palestinian Authority official reported to AFP that, “If we don’t get an answer from John Kerry on the prisoners tonight, we’ll begin to ask for membership in all UN agencies tomorrow” giving a 24-hour ultimatum Monday evening.