Israeli protestors hold signs during a demonstration outside US Secretary of State John Kerry’s hotel in Jerusalem, against the release by Israel of Palestinian prisoners, on March 31, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli )
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf told reporters that the Palestinian Authority “blackmailed” Israel to bring about the release of dozens of prisoners.
The Palestinian Media Watch reported:
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The Palestinian Authority’s only reason for agreeing to and continuing the peace negotiations with Israel is to bring about the release of prisoners, Fatah’s spokesman Ahmad Assaf has indicated. Stating that the PA “blackmailed” Israel to release the prisoners, Assaf explained that by virtue of the PA’s membership in the UN, the PA is able to threaten Israel with taking it to the International Criminal Court. Assaf maintains that to prevent the PA from doing so, Israel agreed to release 104 prisoners, most of them serving life sentences for murder.
Senior PA leader Nabil Shaath explained already in November and again in December 2013, that the reason the PA has not “stopped negotiations,” is because the PA wants to first fulfill its goal of having all the prisoners Israel arrested before the Oslo Accords released.
Israel agreed to release the 104 terrorists from prison because it was the Palestinian Authority’s precondition for starting negotiations at all. But Fatah’s spokesman calling the release of the prisoners “blackmail,” together with Shaath’s statement that they are just waiting for the prisoners to be released before they stop the negotiations, indicates that for the PA, the current round of peace talks may have been a charade.
Israel has already released 78 of the prisoners, and has not yet announced if it will release the remaining 26.