Abbas to PM envoy: Accept prisoners´ demands (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Elior Levy Published: 05.13.12, 08:21)
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In Ramallah, Molcho delivers response letter from Netanyahu regarding
Palestinian terms for resumption of peace talks; Abbas urges Israel
to accept prisoners´ demands, halt settlement construction
Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho met with Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas in Ramallah Saturday night. Following the meeting, during which
the envoy handed Abbas a letter from Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu regarding the possibility of substantive talks, the sides
issued a joint statement saying "Israel and the Palestinian Authority
are committed to achieving peace, and the sides hope the exchange of
letters between President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu will
contribute to this."
Molcho´s letter apparently contained a response to a note Palestinian
negotiators gave Netanyahu last month clarifying their positions if
peace talks were to resume.
"It is doubtful that the missives being exchanged between the sides
will change the situation on the diplomatic front," an Israeli
official who is familiar with content of the letters said last month.
Abbas recently said he would agree to resume talks if Netanyahu would
offer "anything promising or positive." Speaking to Reuters after
Netanyahu announced a broad coalition that will strengthen the
Israeli leader´s hand, the Palestinian president said Netanyahu had
to realize that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were destroying
hopes of peace and must cease.
Abbas said it was still too early to comment directly on the new
Israeli coalition, which saw Israel´s centrist opposition Kadima
party join Netanyahu´s government.
During Saturday´s meeting in Ramallah with Molcho, Abbas also raised
the issue of the Palestinian prisoners who launched a hunger strike
on April 17 to protest their incarceration conditions in Israel. The
Palestinian president called on Israel to accept the inmates´
demands, including an end to solitary confinement and more family
Abbas also reiterated his call to free all Palestinian prisoners who
were arrested by Israel prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords.
During the meeting, he urged Israel to halt all settlement
construction, including in east Jerusalem, and accept the two-state
Last week Abbas told Reuters that the death of any one of the
hundreds of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel would be
a "disaster" and could trigger a backlash that might slip out of
"It is very dangerous," Abbas told Reuters on a day when the Red
Cross urged Israel to transfer to hospital six detainees who it said
were close to death after not eating for two months.
"If anybody dies today or tomorrow or after a week it would be a
disaster and no one could control the situation," he said. "I told
the Israelis and the Americans if they do not find a solution for
this hunger strike immediately, they will be committing a crime."
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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