Palestinian, Israeli negotiators are pressured to disband peace talks
RAMALLAH, West Bank — The peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians are progressing painfully slowly, with few details emerging, and the atmosphere surrounding the negotiations is one of rising tension and frustration.
The Palestinians have threatened to pull out of the talks several times over Israel's continued settlement building in the West Bank and the killing of six Palestinians by Israeli security forces. Right-leaning members of the Israeli parliament have called for canceling the talks over the recent killing of three Israelis by Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas face enormous pressure from some members of their respective governments and significant portions of their public to withdraw from the negotiations.
Israelis and Palestinians voice little but pessimism.
After the killing of two Israeli soldiers and a settler by Palestinians in the West Bank, Housing Minister Uri Ariel, from the Jewish Home party, called on Netanyahu to halt a planned release of Palestinian prisoners that Israel committed to before the peace talks resumed. The release is scheduled for next week.
Hanna Amireh, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, warned last week that pulling out of peace negotiations was one of the scenarios discussed during a recent meeting of the committee.