Israel’s minister of the economy and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett, objected to releasing a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the extension of the peace talks with the Palestinians. He said that such a deal will never happen. Meanwhile, Israel’s Housing Minister Uri Ariel threatened that he will also resign from government if such a deal was concluded.
Bennet said through his Facebook account “I received many inquiries about rumours claiming that Israel will free 400 Palestinians prisoners to extend the negotiations… I’ll be clear; this will never happen”.
On the other hand; Israel’s Housing Minister Uri Ariel remarked on Bennet’s statement saying that “If such rumours proved accurate, I will resign from government”.
Israel’s deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon also objected to the deal saying the peace talks proved futile and will not bear fruit in the future. On his part, MK Moshe Feiglin said that he will do everything in his power to prevent such a deal from happening .
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz expressed his opposition saying “the terrorists must hunker in prison”. He claimed that Israel had released prisoners earlier but that did not help to push the peace talks forward.
On Saturday Israel missed a deadline to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners and demanded that the Palestinians extend the negotiations for another year in returnfor their release.
Palestinian officials warned that if Israel refused to release the fourth group of prisoners including Arab citizens in Israel; the Palestinian Authority will join international conventions especially the Geneva Conventions and prosecute Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Palestinian sources said the US special envoy to the peace process Martin Indyk met with the Palestinian negotiating team and a member of the Israeli team, Yitzhak Molcho, to discuss the recent development in the peace talks.