Israel to free 26 Palestinians
JERUSALEM — Israel decided on Sunday to free 26 Palestinian prisoners over the next few days before a new round of peace talks, in the first group of a total of more than 100 inmates it pledged to release as part of a U.S.-brokered resumption of negotiations.
Three senior members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet and a panel of security officials agreed to the list of names, which they said would be published early Monday.
The panel headed by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon “approved the release of 26 prisoners,” a statement from Netanyahu's office said. Fourteen would be deported or moved to the Gaza Strip and 12 repatriated to the occupied West Bank, it said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had demanded the release of these men, held since before an interim peace deal in 1993, as a condition for renewing talks with Israel, which had run aground in 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building.
Israel agreed in principle last month to free 104 prisoners in four stages, depending on the progress of U.S.-brokered talks for Palestinian statehood that resumed on July 30 as a result of Secretary of State John Kerry's intensive shuttle diplomacy.
Far-right members of Netanyahu's cabinet had opposed the release of prisoners with “blood on their hands.” Many of those expected to go free were convicted of involvement of lethal attacks in which Israelis were killed.
The cabinet decision on Sunday said the inmates would not be freed for at least 48 hours to provide time for victims' families picketing government offices, to appeal to Israel's high court. The court rarely intervenes in such cases.
Softening the blow of the prisoner release for far-right members of Netanyahu's government, Israel also moved forward on Sunday with plans to build nearly 1,200 homes for Jewish settlers.
While condemning settlement expansion, Palestinians have stopped short of threatening outright to abandon the negotiations, which are due to go into a second round in Jerusalem on Wednesday after a session in Washington.
The Housing Ministry said on its website that tenders were issued for building 793 apartments in areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed after capturing the territory.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Korean student escapes abduction bid in Paris
- 28 non-Muslims killed in attack on Kenyan bus by Somalia’s Islamic terrorists
- Russian diplomat Lavrov accuses West of seeking ‘regime changee_SSRq
- Israeli mayor suspends jobs of some Arabs, citing synagogue attack
- Interpol seeks environmental crime suspects
- Islamic State drive for Kobani blunted
- Chinese state media give profs a chilling warning
- Amid Ebola cases, Mali braces borders and beyond
- Kerry in overdrive to secure nuke pact
- Smasher yields 1st look at new particles
- Coal corruption scandal saps enthusiasm for eastern Ukraine rebels