Itongadol.- Israel has called off a planned release of Palestinian prisoners meant to advance peacemaking and called for the US-sponsored negotiations to be reviewed, an official briefed on the talks said on Thursday.
The official, who declined to be identified, said Israeli negotiators had informed their Palestinian counterparts of the decision in an overnight meeting held in an effort to avert a collapse of the troubled talks.
Chief negotiator for Israel, Tzipi Livni, said that Israel could not release prisoners under current conditions and called for Palestinians to retract unilateral move.
The announcement by Israel came after Abbas on Wednesday applied apply for membership in 15 international organizations.
Under the terms of the agreement last July that enabled the current round of negotiations – which is set to expire on April 29 – Israel was to release 104 Palestinian security prisoners in four phases, and the Palestinians were to refrain from unilateral moves in the international arena.
Palestinian officials said Tuesday’s move was a response to Israel’s failure to meet the March 29 deadline for the release of the final batch of prisoners.
This development threatened to scuttle a US-brokered deal that would see the US release Pollard, Israel free the last batch of prisoners – in addition to another 400 Palestinian prisoners – and curb settlement construction, and the Palestinians agree to extend diplomatic talks and not to seek redress in international organizations.