By Ryan Jones
The Palestinian Authority acknowledged on Sunday that it is only continuing to take part in US-brokered peace talks with Israel in order to secure the release of more jailed Palestinian terrorists.
As one of the conditions for getting the Palestinians to the negotiating table in the first place, Israel agreed to four prisoner releases, the fourth of which is scheduled to take place at the end of this month.
Speaking to Israel's Army Radio on Sunday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that he had urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to pull out of the peace talks as the Palestinians were clearly not going to have 100 percent of their demands met.
But, Erekat revealed, Abbas is determined to maintain the ruse of genuinely negotiating peace until the fourth prisoner release occurs. Abbas has made securing the release of thousands of jailed Palestinian terrorists a central component of his hoped-for political legacy.
Ideas for Peace
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Sunday that given the wide gaps that remain between the Israeli and Palestinian positions, it would require at least another year of serious negotiations to reach an agreement.
Since Israel is unwilling to compromise on its security, and the Palestinians refuse to give an inch on their demands, Netanyahu is said to be considering a number of creative solutions, including one modeled on the complicated border agreements that exist between Belgium and the Netherlands.
Netanyahu has already stated that Israel would never again forcibly uproot Jewish civilians, meaning that if a Palestinian state is established, tens of thousands of Jewish settlers, at least, will either have to move willingly inside Israel proper, or be allowed to live as residents or citizens of said Palestinian state.
That prospect has not sat well with either Israelis or Palestinians.
A third way is the adoption of the Belgium-Netherlands model. There is a portion of the Dutch-Belgian border where both nations maintain sovereign enclaves within the territory of the other (mostly Belgian enclaves inside the Netherlands). In fact, in one area, there are even Dutch enclaves inside the Belgian enclaves.
The idea is to enable Netanyahu to keep his promise to not uproot any Jews, while still giving the Palestinians a largely-contiguous state.
- Arab League rejects recognizing Israel as a Jewish state • Israel Hayom
- Abbas Staying in Negotiations for the Sake of Terrorist Releases • Arutz Sheva
- Netanyahu looks to Belgium-Holland border for settlement solution • Times of Israel
- Netanyahu: Israel will not evacuate settlements under peace deal • JTA
- Obama's Betrayal of Israel as a Jewish State • FrontPage Magazine (Joseph Klein)