The Palestinian Authority has announced it will join over 15 international organizations in attempts to join UN bodies as a sovereign state, due to Israel’s decision to not release the final of four phases of convicted Palestinian terrorists. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made the announcement Tuesday, claiming that the PA will “immediately” resume a previous attempt to receive membership as the “State of Palestine”.
Abbas met with Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah Tuesday evening to discuss the US led effort to extend peace talks. Under the new Israel proposal, Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard would reportedly be released from prison, the Palestinians would be given a partial settlement freeze and Israel would agree to release an additional 400 prisoners as well as the remaining final prisoner release previously agreed upon.
A White House spokesperson stated that, “The president has not made a decision to release Jonathan Pollard” following reports that he may be released.
The Palestinian Authority refused the Israeli proposal, threatening Monday with a 24-hour ultimatum for the release of the prisoners or the PA would abandon talks and seek UN membership.
Abbas signed an official appeal in Ramallah on Tuesday evening, stating, “The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention,” adding that, the Palestinians “salute the American efforts, but Israel is procrastinating” in reference to Israel’s refusal to release the fourth phase of prisoners.
However, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed Abbas’s decision to appeal to the international organizations, stating that Abbas is committed to continued negotiations with Israel. He stated, “Let me make it absolutely clear- none of the agencies that President Abbas signed tonight involve the UN. None of them. And President Abbas has given his word to me that he will keep his agreement and that he intends to negotiate through the end of the month of April.”
On the prisoner release, Kerry stated that, “the prisoners were due on the 29th, which was Saturday,” stating that he would not get into detail of the reasons for the fall through of the prisoner release. He stated that, “We’re where we are today and the important thing is to keep the process moving and find a way to see whether the parties are prepared to move forward.”
Kerry spoke of the need for “the leaders on both sides have to make the decisions, not us” in reference to the United States. He additionally stated that, “It’s up to them to decide what they’re prepared to do with each other, for each other, for the future, for the region, for peace. And we will do everything in our power.”
A meeting scheduled for Wednesday between Abbas and Kerry has been canceled following Abbas’s decision to sign 15 international treaties.
Amir Tsarfati is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.