Israeli sources have claimed that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to extend negotiations past the deadline of April 29.The sources said that the President agreed to extend the negotiations, which will be based on the establishment of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to the PNN.
The source added that President Abbas signed letters of accession to 15 international conventions and treaties to assure that this is an essential right for the Palestinian people, while Israel considers the move as unilateralism and a red line.
At the end of March, Israel refused to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners the PLO had been expecting to be freed in a gesture to restart peace talks last year.
In response, the PLO applied last week to adhere to 15 international treaties, leading Israel to threaten sanctions against the Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank.
On Thursday, a new meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators attended by US special envoy Martin Indyk took place, the same source told Ma’an.
The parties, added the source, are to discuss the possibility that Israel releases the fourth group of prisoners to reduce tensions between the two sides in the hope of resuming talks.
Abbas, meanwhile, says he is ready to extend peace talks based on principles and terms of reference that lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily newspaper that his move to join 15 international conventions and treaties embodied â€śone of the Palestinian peopleâ€™s rights and Israel has nothing to do with that.â€ť
During a meeting with foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo, on Wednesday, Abbas reviewed a report in detail about peace talks and the impasse they reached. He also updated the participants on the results of the last tripartite meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators and US mediators.
Israeli negotiators suggested to deport to the Gaza Strip 10 of the veteran prisoners expected to be freed by Israel this month, but the Palestinian side refused to discuss that proposal in order to avoid repetition of previous experiences when prisoners were deported to Gaza or to foreign countries, according to a high-level Palestinian source.
Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the US after nearly three years of impasse.
Israel’s government has announced the construction of thousands of settler housing units and its army has killed 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since the negotiations began.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.