"So, we will give him terrorists just so he can derail the negotiations? What is the logic in this?”
Bennett is absolutely correct here.
The last issue I will mention is that of the continuation of the talks beyond the deadline of April 29th. What is going to happen is anyone’s guess. Abbas is threatening to go to international agencies, starting with the UN, should negotiations come to an end.
Should he do this, he would have abrogated the terms of Oslo (not for the first time), and then Israel would be a position to declare the Accords null and void – but would be exceedingly unlikely to do this. This is something I would like to revisit in some detail at the appropriate time.
The US desperately wants the negotiations to continue.
Regretfully, our government has made statements about a readiness to continue as well. A different tone from that of Bennett, who has addressed the foolishness of extending this situation. I hasten to point out here that Netanyahu’s declarations of readiness do not mean that he is truly eager to pursue that “two state solution” (see about Ya’alon below) or even that he thinks the talks actually will continue. I have had information from some very solid sources indicating that the prime minister anticipates that the negotiations may end in failure in the coming weeks. This is Netanyahu being himself.
And Abbas? He is milking the situation for all it’s worth – making threats, attempting to secure additional concessions: he certainly understands the eagerness of the Americans for an extension of the talks and he plays them for all he can.
If we should withhold release of the Israeli Arabs, this might finish it for Abbas, whose reputation rests in some good measure on his ability to secure the release of prisoners. He may find he would have to walk away in that situation. What he is actually doing now is demanding as the price for staying at the table (along with other things) the release of additional prisoners beyond the 104 that had been originally discussed.
Just days ago, Defense Minister Ya’alon made a statement to Israeli TV regarding the peace process: