Monday, August 6, 2012

Report: Netanyahu to release prisoners if UN bid scrapped

Maan News Agency

Published today 16:46
A majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly would be enough
to bestow non-member observer status, bypassing the Security Council
- where the United States, Israel's ally, has a veto.

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to release 50 prisoners detained before the Oslo Accords if the Palestinian Authority cancels its proposed UN bid, Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv reported Monday.

Netanyahu also offered to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas to resume political negotiations, the newspaper added.

"The bid will be submitted in the right time," Abbas' political adviser Nimir Hammad said in response.

All prisoners detained before the Oslo Accords should be released without conditions, Hammad added, saying he refused to link a prisoner release with the UN bid.

In June, Netanyahu's adviser Yitzhak Molcho promised that Israel would release 25 out of the 123 prisoners detained before Oslo, Maariv said.

The offer was reportedly made when Molcho met with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

On Saturday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told reporters in Ramallah that the PA would ask to be made a non-member observer state at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 27.

Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said any UN bid would find majority support but "will change nothing on the ground."