Palestinians celebrate after Israel releases third batch of prisoners
A prisoner (C) released from an Israeli prison is welcomed by relatives in the West Bank city of Ramallah early December 31, 2013. Photo by Reuters
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Israel may block further prisoner releases if the Palestinian leadership refuses to extend negotiations by another year, top minister Jacob Perry told Israel Hayom in an interview to be published Friday.

Perry, who joined Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party and then the government as minister of Science and Technology in 2012 after serving as head of the Shin Bet security service and a long career in business, is considered to be dovish. However, in an excerpt of the interview he was quoted as saying that if the talks break down, each side is likely to take unilateral steps.

In the case of the Palestinians, that could include demanding recognition from the United Nations, while Israel for its part could balk at carrying out a fourth round of Palestinian prisoner releases.

Perry has long advocated the cause of peace. In November 2013 he attacked Housing Minister Uri Ariel of Habayit Hayehudi for issuing tenders to build thousands of housing units in the contested West Bank, which undermined the peace process, Perry said. 

In December he attacked Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for stating, "We don’t have a partner on the Palestinian side for a two-state solution". But in conversation with Israel Hayom, Perry himself said that Israel's partner in the talks – the Palestinians – are "difficult".