A senior Israeli official said on Monday that United States Secretary of State John Kerry had “deceived” Israel with regards to the release of terrorists as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The unnamed official, who spoke to Channel 2 News, said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made it clear to Kerry that the next batch of 26 terrorists that Israel is to release will not include any Israeli Arabs, contrary to the PA’s demand.
The official said that during the initial talks between Netanyahu and Kerry, before the peace talks restarted, Netanyahu agreed to release 82 terrorists in several batches, none of them Israeli Arabs.
Subsequently, the same official told Channel 2, Kerry and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas held talks of their own during which Abbas demanded the release of 104 terrorists, including Israeli Arabs. Kerry’s deception was that, instead of telling Abbas that Israel only agreed to release 82 terrorists, he then went back to Netanyahu and tried to convince him to change his position.
The Channel 2 report added that Netanyahu told Kerry that in any case Israel would not release Israeli Arab terrorists as a gesture to Abbas, but it may consider releasing Israeli Arabs in exchange for the release of Jonathan Pollard. Kerry promised to consider the issue, but not beyond that and, has yet to give Netanyahu an answer on the matter.
Netanyahu has also instructed the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the Israel Prison Service to make up a list of 26 terrorists for the next release, all of whom are residents of the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and not one of whom is an Israeli Arab.
The report aired hours before Israel was to release a third batch of 26 terrorists.
On Monday evening, as it usually does, the High Court rejected a last minute petition against the release of the terrorists filed by activists and families whose loved ones were killed in the terror attacks perpetrated by the prisoners set to be released.
Monday’s report on Kerry’s deception also comes ahead of another visit by Kerry to Israel. The Secretary of State will return to the region on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing peace talks with Israeli and PA officials.