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Shaath: 'We Will Stay in Negotiations Just to Release Prisoners'

Despite reports that peace talks have failed, PA official declares that they will remain - if only to release more terrorists.
By Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 11/29/2013, 12:52 PM

Nabil Shaath
Nabil Shaath
Flash 90

Nabil Shaath, one of the senior officials in the terrorist organization Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has declared in a Maariv interview Friday that the PA will remain in talks until all of their terrorist "prisoners" are released - despite admitting that talks have tanked. 

"We have committed to negotiations for a period of 9 months, and by then we hope to see all 104 of our prisoners released," Shaath claimed. He also noted that if not for the release of the more terrorists, PA negotiators would have left the peace talks entirely - just as they threatened to do earlier this month. 

Earlier this week, Shaath declared to Ma'an that the PA was ready to appeal to international bodies, e.g. the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the event that talks fail. 

Shaath repeated those sentiments Friday, adding that he wished to petition all of the UN organizations - not only for the terrorists to be released, but also to push Israel back into talks and into surrendering land under 1949 Armistice lines. 

"The declaration of the PA as a UN non-member observer state recognizes the PA as having borders on 1967 lines," he declared. "This gives us the right to be full members of other international organizations, the International Criminal Court, and other UN institutions." The PA was admitted as a UN non-member observer state last year. 

Despite these threats, Shaath nonetheless has admitted that the PA will not break the negotiations - if only for the sake of more terrorists. "For the prisoners sake, we will not break off ties, we will not go running to the UN." he stated, "But I'm not sure there will be much else to do, given the current policies of the Israeli government." 

Shaath also declared that the PA team would leave negotiations "immediately" if more housing units were built in Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria - come what may. 

The PA negotiating team left talks earlier this month, officially resigning over announcements that Israel intends to continue provide housing for Judea and Samaria residents. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas did not accept their resignation, however. 

US Secretary of State John Kerry will be back in Israel in December in an effort to rekindle talks. Kerry's remarks during his last visit infuriated many Israelis, threatening a "third intifada" if talks failed, and declaring that the US finds Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria as "illegitimate." 

The peace talks have proved tenuous in the wake of a mushrooming of terror attacks against Israelis since Kerry's November visit, which many Israelis believe are inherently connected.