Palestinian Arabs Favor Extending Talks if Terrorists Freed
The Palestinian Arabs are apparently on board with their leader’s demands that peace talks be extended in exchange for Israel releasing more terrorists, AFP reported on Monday.
The report is based on a new poll which found that a majority of Palestinian Arabs would support extending peace talks with Israel beyond the April deadline, on condition for more releases.
Without this condition, the poll found, most Palestinian Arabs would reject extending the faltering negotiations, which have achieved no apparent progress in the nearly nine months since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brought the two sides to the table.
Some 65 percent of 1,200 Palestinian Arab adults interviewed this month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research would support talks running to the end of the year "if Israel agrees to release more Palestinian prisoners," according to AFP.
Israel agreed, when talks began in July, to release 104 terrorists in four batches, as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Three of the four releases have already gone through, but the PA chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, admitted earlier this month that Abbas was staying in talks solely for the sake of the terrorist releases. In the wake of these statement, government ministers have been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to go through with the fourth release.
Should there be no releases beyond the 104 already agreed, 55 percent of Palestinian Arabs would reject carrying on the talks, the poll said.
A narrow majority of 51 percent would support the continuation of talks if Israel froze its construction in Judea and Samaria, according to the poll, which was conducted in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, as well as in Gaza, between March 20-22.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas should be pleased with the results, as he declared on Monday that he would agree to extend peace talks if Israel pledged to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria and release more terrorist prisoners.