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PA Threatens Israel with 'Diplomatic Offensive'

Lawmaker on behalf of Abbas's Fatah party says the PA should go to the UN if Israel fails to release the fourth terrorist group.
By Dalit Halevi and Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/1/2014, 4:46 AM

PA celebrates terrorist release
PA celebrates terrorist release
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening Israel with a “diplomatic attack” if Israel fails to release the fourth batch of terrorists it promised to release as a “gesture” to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Taysir Nasrallah, a lawmaker on behalf of Abbas’s Fatah party, said the PA should launch a diplomatic offensive against Israel and immediately turn to international institutions, including the United Nations.

Speaking to the PA-based Safa news agency, Nasrallah expressed his opposition to the PA agreeing to extend the talks with Israel in exchange for Israel releasing the terrorists , saying that the PA cannot give up on the release of Arab-Israeli terrorists.

He accused Israel of trying to thwart the United States’ peace initiative and warned of the possibility that Israel will try to tie the release of the terrorists with other issues being discussed in the talks, such as the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the so-called “Palestinian refugees”, and Jerusalem.

Nasrallah’s comments came in the wake of a deadlock in the peace talks, which came after  the fourth and final batch of terrorist releases was refused by Israel on Saturday.

The fourth batch of terrorist releases has sparked considerable controversy, as MKs pointed out that the previous releases have done nothing to further talks, and that several of the released terrorists have contributed to the increase in terror attacks over the past year. 

Hours before Nasrallah’s comments,  the PA gave U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry 24 hours to get Israel to release the fourth batch of terrorists.

"If we don't get an answer from John Kerry on the prisoners tonight, we'll begin to ask for membership in all UN agencies tomorrow," Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghuti told AFP following a top-level leadership meeting in Ramallah which took place as Kerry arrived in Israel.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, said Sunday that he was ready to call Abbas's bluff on his threats to take his case to international tribunals.

“Is he doing us a favor by continuing negotiations with us? If he doesn't want to negotiate, that's fine. And if there are no talks he plans to complain to the United Nations? Let him – he will be the one that gets hurt,” said Bennett.