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In a move to continue United States mediated peace talks with Palestine, Israel agreed to release 26 Palestinian prisoners within the week on Sunday.
In order to spur on Palestinian peace talks which began on July 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to release 104 Palestinians who were arrested after attacks which killed Israelis in 1993. According to an Israeli official who talked to The Associated Foreign Press, the release of these prisoners was used as collateral in a pact to continue building Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories.
Palestinians deny the connection, arguing that the continued occupation of their territory is a constant impedance to Palestine’s consent to peace talks.
The Times of Israel reports that The Palestinian Authority will only grant land swaps which do not exceed 1.9 percent of the West Bank and concedes some control over the Dead Sea and borders to Palestine.
While officials face criticism from all sides, Netanyahu told ministers, “We have to honor government decisions even if it is difficult and unpleasant, we can’t constantly change our stance,” The Jerusalem Post reports.
He later told reporters, “We want to reach an accord with the Palestinians, primarily to ensure [Israel’s] security.”