The US government is very worried that the talks between Israel and the Palestinians are on the verge of collapse and are seeking a solution that would allow for a way forward, Israel Radio reported Sunday.
According to the report, Western political sources said that the US administration is searching for a proposal favorable enough for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which would persuade his government to free Israeli Arab prisoners.
US sources would not rule out the possibility of agreeing to Netanyahu's request for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in order to keep the talks going, the radio said. The former US civilian defense worker is currently serving a life term in the US for spying for Israel.
The report said that Pollard's release would come in return for the Israeli adoption of Secretary of State John Kerry's framework agreement and the release of Israeli Arab prisoners. But, the radio said, the sources stressed that US President Barack Obama would not necessarily agree to Pollard's release.
The talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which began in July, are due to end on April 29. Israeli officials have warned that a Palestinian failure to extend the talks would exempt Jerusalem from releasing a fourth and final batch of Palestinian prisoners, while President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that an Israeli failure to free the final group of 26 would allow the Palestinians to act as they saw fit in the international arena.
"We are awaiting the release of the fourth batch of prisoners, as agreed upon with the Israelis through the United States," he told members of the central committee of his Fatah movement.
"We are saying, if they are not released, this is a violation of the agreement and allows us to act however we see fit within the norms of international agreements."