Released Palestinian prisoner Osama al-Selawa is welcomed by relatives and militants in the West Bank city of Jenin Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
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Israel's refusal to free a final batch of Arab prisoners Saturday creates another obstacle to U.S. efforts to broker peace, a senior official in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party said.Under the deal that relaunched peace talks last July, Israel agreed to release 104 Arabs held since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords in exchange for the Palestinians' promise not to press their statehood claim at the United Nations. However, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied reports that the negotiations had already collapsed.Israeli media say Netanyahu could give a green light to the prisoner release if the U.S. frees Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in Washington in 1985 and condemned to life imprisonment for spying on the United States on behalf of Israel.
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