Abbas to Israel: Free more terrorists, then we'll talk

Israel Today:

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has called for the release of 120 more Palestinian terrorists jailed by Israel as a precondition for resuming peace talks. Washington is reportedly urging Israel to seriously consider the demand.

But, Israelis are likely to have a real problem with this. Among the 120 detainees Abbas wants freed are many who have directly murdered Israeli Jewish men, women and children. Relatives of the victims have warned that these murderers, like the many released before them, will return to violence if set free.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon is said to be resisting the new Palestinian demand, but pressure from America and the European Union is increasing on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept for the sake of restarting peace talks that most Israelis don't expect to achieve anything.

Among the terrorists appears on Abbas' "wish list" are Sata Aba, who in 1993 stabbed to death two Israeli Jews as they slept in the central town of Ramle, Issa Moussa, who participated in the slaying of three Israeli police officers in 1993, and one of the terrorists behind the 1991 bombing of Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, which killed eight people.

Abbas, like many Arab leaders, sees great opportunity in leveraging the release of jailed terrorists after Israel demonstrated that it was ready to set free 1,027 prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit).

Abbas put forward the list as last week's World Economic Forum in neighboring Jordan. To the dismay of many Israelis, President Shimon Peres, who addressed the same gathering, told Israeli television that the Palestinian leader's demand should be seen "in a positive light."