Most Palestinians OK extending talks if extra prisoners get freed

Two-thirds of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza would support extending the current peace talks if Israel released extra Palestinian prisoners, according to a new poll.

Of the 1,200 Palestinian adults interviewed last week by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 65 percent backed the extension of the American-backed talks with the condition, the French news agency AFP reported.

The negotiations are set to end on April 29. Israel is scheduled to release a fourth group of 28 Palestinian prisoners on Saturday, March 29, but the security Cabinet has said it will not follow through unless the Palestinians agree to extend negotiations.

In the same poll, 51 percent of Palestinians said they would support continuing the talks if Israel froze West Bank settlement construction.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency cited an unnamed Palestinian official as saying that if the last group of prisoners, who have been in Israeli jails since before the Oslo accords, are not released as scheduled, the Palestinian Authority will turn to international organizations for recognition. — jta