The Palestinian leadership submitted a proposal to renew peace talks with with Israel that drops their long-standing demand that Israel ceases all West Bank settlement construction, a top Israeli official said on Wednesday.
According to officials with knowledge of the proposal, the Palestinian Authority informed the Quartet two weeks ago that it would renege on its demand for a settlement freeze if Israel releases 100 prisoners as a show of good will.
The prisoners in question are reportedly all veteran inmates, incarcerated in Israeli prisons since before the Oslo accords.
The Palestinian proposal was reputedly the result of heavy pressure applied by Quartet members – the United States, the European Union, Russian, and the United Nations – on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks before January 26.
That date marks the expiration of the three months specified by a Quartet statement in September in which Israel and the Palestinians are to resume talks and present concrete proposals concerning issues such as borders and security arrangements.
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