Speaking in Ramallah following the recent release of additional terrorists by Israel, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) told his audience in Arabic that “I will not sign and peace agreement with Israel until every last prisoner is released by Israel.”
Despite gestures of moderation and a willingness to reach agreement with Israel when speaking with US officials or to the media, the PA leader has recently reiterated his unwillingness to recognize Israel as a nation for the Jewish People, he insists on the release of all terrorists from Israeli prisons and he remains unwilling to compromise on PA demands for Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. The PA is also demanding Israel withdraw from the Jordan Valley.
Preparing to leave Israel after the most recent round of shuttle talks between Ramallah and Jerusalem, Secretary Kerry told the press after Shabbos that he remains optimistic. The same optimism is not being echoed by PA or Israeli negotiators.
In his remarks during a press event with Kerry at his side, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pointed out that just a few days ago “President Abba embraced terrorists and addressed them as heroes”. The prime minister stressed Israel’s commitment to a “genuine and lasting peace” but he stresses he will never “compromise on the security of Israel and its citizens and our vital interests to protect our future.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)