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Mideast peace talks on shaky ground

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BILL STEWART

Understanding Your World

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 3:12 pm, Sat Apr 5, 2014.

Israel has canceled the release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners over the Palestinian leadership’s pursuit of still greater United Nations recognition. The move was a further setback to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks so carefully nurtured by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The peace talks, one of the signature foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration, have been underway since August 2013, after a hiatus of three years. They have not been canceled, but they are definitely in need of drastic help.

The release of Palestinian prisoners is part of the peace talks deal arrived at last year by the Americans, the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is highly controversial in Israel, especially as some of the prisoners are accused of having killed Israelis. The Israelis say the cancellation is because the Palestinians moved unilaterally to apply for membership in 15 U.N. conventions. Unilateral moves, such as those just carried out by the Israelis and the Palestinians, are said to be in violation of the terms and intent of the peace talks. The Palestinians are not yet full members of the U.N., and moves to bolster their U.N. status are opposed by both the U.S. and Israel because they are outside the peace talks designed to achieve an independent Palestine.

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