Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas a year ago rejected a suggestion by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release 50 pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners as a good-will gesture to restart negotiations, the Times of Israeli said.
The newspaper reported a senior Palestinian official as saying that Palestinians may agree to renew talks with Israel if Netanyahu releases all 107 individuals who have been imprisoned by Israel since before the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The Palestinian official, who asked not to be named, and is one of Abbas’s close aides said that the release of all the pre-Oslo ‘veterans’ is a ‘strategic’ requirement for the PA. He did not rule out additional Palestinian conditions.
He said that Abbas might not agree to sit for talks with Netanyahu again unless the Israeli government freezes construction in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Contacts over this proposal were conducted by the head of the PLO negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, and the prime minister’s special envoy for talks with the Palestinians, Yitzhak Molcho. A message about the issue was sent to the Jordanian King.
The Israeli proposal was to free the 50 prisoners in three stages: 25, then 15, then 10.