Visiting the White House, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed he is willing to extend the peace talks with Israel beyond their current deadline of late April, provided Israel does not renege on prisoner releases and agrees to a settlement freeze.
The current round of talks is supposed to include one last round of prisoner releases, but several in the Israeli government are threatening to collapse the coalition if that goes through, citing the talks not accomplishing anything.
The PA has said reneging on the release would kill the talks immediately. This may not seem like a big deal since the talks aren’t going anywhere, but Israeli officials are keen to portray the failure as totally the PA’s fault, which would be hard to do if they go back on their promises.
Polls show Palestinian voters opposed by a slim majority to Abbas’ proposition, and a much bigger majority would support continuing the peace talks if Israel agrees to more rounds of prisoner releases after the one coming in the next weeks.
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