Visiting London, Israeli deputy Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom, stated that Israel will not release Fateh leader, Marwan Barghouthi, and Secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat. In an interview with BBC Arabic, Shalom said that the two will never be released under any prisoner-swap deal.
He added that any prisoner-swap deal would first be presented to the Knesset and the Israeli public before the cabinet votes on it.
His statements came after holding a meeting with British Foreign Minister, David Miliband.
During the meeting, Shalom asked Miliband to help in the efforts to secure the release of the captured soldier Gilad Shalit.
Shalom claimed that Israel is interested in the resumption of peace talks without preconditions.
He claimed that Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in occupied Eat Jerusalem are not an obstacle to peace.
On his side, Miliband proposed that Israel presents a schedule for peace talks in order to encourage the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to resume talks.
The Palestinian Authority, and its president Mahmoud Abbas, said that peace talks cannot be resumed while Israel is ongoing with its illegal settlement activities and violations.