Israel and the Palestinian Authority are negotiating over Israeli moves that would pave the way for a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to two Israeli sources and two Western diplomats, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, Netanyahu has expressed willingness to release initially some 25 Palestinian prisoners convicted of the murder of Israelis and another 100 prisoners by the end of 2012.
All four diplomats confirmed that Netanyahu’s representative, Isaac Molho, was representing Israel in contacts with the PA’s negotiations chief Saeb Erekat.
Molho and Erekat met last week in Jerusalem for several hours and have also spoken by phone a few times.
The Palestinians have set two conditions for a meeting with Netanyahu. The first is the release of 123 prisoners incarcerated in Israel since before the Oslo Accords. Most of these prisoners are Fatah members who have now been in prison for between 25 and 35 years, after being convicted of involvement in terror attacks in which Israelis were killed. The second condition is that the PA security forces in the West Bank be supplied with new weapons.
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