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Palestinians may seek membership in world bodies
Palestinians may seek membership in world bodies
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World Bulletin  - A senior Palestinian official on Monday said his government would seek membership in international organizations if Israel failed to abide by a previous agreement to release a fresh batch of Palestinian detainees on March 29.

"The Palestinian government has already finalized preparations for receiving the freed detainees," Ziyad Abu Ein, a senior official at the Ministry of Detainees' Affairs, told Anadolu Agency.

"They [detainees] closely monitor Israeli statements regarding their fate," he added.

Israel Radio had earlier quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that Tel Aviv could reconsider the promised release of a fourth and final group of Palestinian detainees if ongoing peace talks failed to bear fruit.

The official said both sides had an interest in extending talks beyond an April negotiation deadline.

U.S.-brokered talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed in Washington last summer after a nearly three-year pause.

During a visit to the region in January, Kerry presented both sides with a proposed framework for an eventual deal that addresses so-called "final-status" issues – namely, borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem).

Some 500,000 Israelis now live in more than one hundred Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and Al-Quds in 1967.

The Palestinians want these areas, along with the Gaza Strip, for their future state.

Palestinians insist that the issue of Israeli settlement-building must be addressed before a comprehensive final-status agreement can be reached.

Abu Ein, for his part, said Israel's threat to reconsider the prisoner release was another attempt by the self-proclaimed Jewish state to "exploit" the Palestinians.

"Israel is using the detainees card to deal a blow to the U.S.," he said. "This means the negotiations file should be made the responsibility of the international community and its institutions."

Membership in international organizations is said to help the Palestinians resolve their ongoing dispute with Israel within the context of international law.

Last week, the Ministry of Detainees' Affairs released the names of 30 Palestinian prisoners who were expected to be released by Israel on March 29.

Israel had previously agreed to free 104 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.