US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Ramallah on Friday after a three hour delay in Amman, Jordan and the state secretary is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the resumption of talks with Israel later today.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian minister revealed further details from the revised Kerry outline and said that the state secretary assured the Palestinians that Israel would free some 350 prisoners gradually in the coming months.
Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani said Kerry has proposed holding talks for six to nine months focusing on the key issues of borders and security arrangements.
He said Kerry would endorse the 1967 lines as the starting point of negotiations and assured the Palestinians that Israel would free some 350 prisoners gradually in the coming months. The prisoners would include some 100 men that Israel convicted of crimes committed before interim peace accords were signed in 1993. Israel has balked at freeing these prisoners in the past because many were convicted in deadly attacks.
Israeli officials denied this week that Israel agreed on the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations. Until now, in reports on the Kerry outline it was said that only 103 prisoners will be released.
But Palestinian sources estimated that Abbas will accept the outline and return to the negotiation table should Israel agree to release the prisoners, as it count for a significant achievement on the Palestinian side.
The defense establishment noted they do are not aware of the proposal to release additional prisoners.
Kerry in Ramallah
Kerry steps up
Kerry held more than 90 minutes of talks Friday morning with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in the Jordanian capital Amman, before departing to continue his discussions with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
At a stormy late-night meeting of their leadership Thursday, Palestinians balked at dropping a main condition for talks with the Israelis. They demand a guarantee that negotiations on borders between a Palestinian state and Israel would be based on the cease-fire line that held from 1949 until the 1967 war.
Hoping to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks, President Barack Obama asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with Kerry "to resume negotiations with Palestinians as soon as possible," according to a statement released by the White House late Thursday
The White House statement noted that the leaders also talked about security issues in Egypt, Iran and Syria.
A US official said Kerry would consult with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Friday before ending his visit to the Middle East and returning to the United States but made no mention of an announcement of new negotiations.