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July 20, 2013 8:00 pm

Conflicting Accounts of Basis for Israel-PA Talks Emerge

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with PA President Abbas in May 2013. Photo: State Department.

Times of Israel – Amid conflicting accounts of the basis on which Israel and the Palestinians are set to renew negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night hailed the resumption of the talks, announced Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry, as fulfilling Israel’s “vital strategic interests.”

Israeli ministers said the government had held firm to its conditions for resuming the negotiations, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had given ground. According to the ministers, the talks would resume without Israel agreeing to a settlement freeze, without Israel agreeing to negotiations for a Palestinian state on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, and without there first being a release of longtime Palestinian prisoners. Israel would release Palestinian prisoners, with Israeli blood on their hands, in phases as the talks continued, they said.

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