Israel would consider releasing a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners to press the Palestinian Authority if the settlement negotiations come to a standstill; Israel’s public radio Kol Israel Reshet Bet reported a senior official saying.
The official said: “If the settlement talks with the Palestinians came to a standstill; Israel will reconsider liberating more Palestinian prisoners. The interest of all parties requires extending the negotiations for another year; even without the American framework agreement drafted by US Secretary of State John Kerry.”
However he pointed out that “the issue of recognising Israel as a Jewish state is essential. If the US-drafted agreement includes establishing the future Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with land swaps, why not include a clause on recognising Israel’s Jewishness?”
Meanwhile, a US source said that Kerry did not give Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a formal framework document, pointing out that Kerry and his team will continue contacting all relevant parties in the coming days to develop a framework agreement which allows the continuation of the settlement process.