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Netanyahu: Palestinians must recognise Israel as Jewish state before release of prisoners

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he will not release a single Palestinian prisoner unless the Palestinian Authority recognises Israel as a Jewish state; Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Saturday.

The channel said quoting sources close the premier that Netanyahu does not intend to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners if the peace talks were not extended and the Palestinians did not recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

According to the channel, Netanyahu is demanding that the Palestinians recognise a Jewish state before the negotiations resume and not at the end of them as he previously stated.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz said the peace negotiations were on the verge of collapse noting that if a framework agreement was reached, the fourth group of prisoners will not include Israeli Arab citizens.

Israel was scheduled to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners this week but it has now imposed new conditions for their release, notably an extension of the negotiations for another year.

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