As poorly as the Israel-Palestinian peace talks have gone this time around, it’s really a wonder that one side or the other hasn’t ditched them entirely. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat is surprised too, because he recommended quitting the talks awhile ago.
According to Erekat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas didn’t want to quit the talks yet because there is a round of prisoner releases scheduled for the end of the month, and he doesn’t want to keep those from happening.
Whether that means the talks will die quickly after the releases or not is unclear, but there seems to be a strong interest on both sides to see the other withdraw first, so they can insist the failure totally wasn’t their fault.
Israeli Deputy FM Zeev Elkin, who says he is opposed to peace talks on general principle, urged Israel to respond by demand the Palestinians give in to all their demands before the prisoner release happens.