JERUSALEM – Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians says it will not release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners because of the Palestinians' push for recognition at the United Nations.
Tzipi Livni's spokeswoman said Thursday that the Israeli government was working to finalize an agreement to free the prisoners when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed letters of accessions to 15 international conventions. Abbas said it was a response to Israel's failure to release prisoners as promised.
Livni said the prisoner release was contingent on the Palestinians refraining from making unilateral moves. Livni said that "new conditions were established and Israel cannot release the fourth batch of prisoners."
She added that now the sides need to re-examine how to proceed in the U.S.-led talks helmed by Secretary of State John Kerry.