Report: Israeli, Palestinian Authority Officials Hold Secret Talks Over Pre-Oslo Convicts
by Zach Pontz
Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials have held secret discussions about the release of convicts detained by Israel before the 1993 Oslo Accords, Ma’an news agency reported Friday, citing a Palestinian Authority official.
As part of his demands for returning to negotiations with Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that 107 Palestinians arrested before the Oslo agreement be released, Ma’an reported.
Political analyst Hani al-Masri said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to ensure the PLO remains in peace talks, was expected to release the criminals in three stages during negotiations.
Earlier this week Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to release prisoners jailed prior to the Oslo Accords as one of the conditions to restarting the peace process.
During the latter’s visit in April, Abbas told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that releasing convicts was a “top priority” for resuming talks with Israel.
“President Abbas made a passionate argument to me about the prisoners and I think the government of Israel has a full understanding of the potency of that issue,” Kerry said at the time.