Israel Ruling Party Faces Split Over Prisoner Release

Abbas: Failure to Release Prisoners a Breach of Deal

With Israel-Palestinian peace talks going nowhere, the whole process seems set to end next month with the “deadline” for a deal, and little justification for an extension.

All that’s really left is for Israel to release the fourth and final batch of Palestinian prisoners, which they agreed to release as part of the deal that would start the peace talks. That’s where things get tricky.

Hawks within the ruling Likud Party have threatened to withdraw from the government if Prime Minister Netanyahu follows through on the release. This could not only collapse the coalition, but fuel a protracted leadership battle between Netanyahu and Deputy DM Danny Danon over the Likud-Beiteinu list.

Cancelling the prisoner release doesn’t look promising either, as Palestinian President Abbas has pointed out this would violate the terms under which they agreed to negotiate in the first place.

While that normally wouldn’t be a big deal with the talks virtually dead anyhow, Israel is ever keen to blame the Palestinians when the talks don’t go anywhere, and if the talks collapse a few weeks early because Israel reneges on the release, that’s going to further shift the blame to them.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.