26 Palestinian Prisoners Approved for Freedom

Third Round of Releases as Peace Talks Inch Forward

Free at Last: Relatives of freed Palestinian prisoners gathered in October to welcome them home in the West Bank. Another round of prisoners is expected to be freed Monday.
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Free at Last: Relatives of freed Palestinian prisoners gathered in October to welcome them home in the West Bank. Another round of prisoners is expected to be freed Monday.

By JTA

Published December 29, 2013.
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A committee of government ministers approved a list of 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released as part of the revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

It is the third round of Palestinian prisoner releases since the American-backed peace negotiations began in July. The list was published late on Saturday night on the Israel Prison Service website. Anyone who objects to the release of a prisoner has 48 hours to appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court.

The prisoners to be released committed their terror acts before the Oslo Accords, and have served at least 19 years in an Israeli prison, according to a statement released Saturday night by the Prime Minister’s Office. According to the statement, “if any of those to be released resume hostile activity they will be returned to serve the remainder of their sentences.”

The prisoners will be released late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

New construction in West Bank settlements is expected to be announced at the same time as the release or immediately after, according to reports.

The announcement Saturday night came as dozens of protesters demonstrated in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem. The protesters included family members of victims of the Palestinian prisoners set to be released.

Some 22 more Palestinian prisoners are set to be released early next year as part of the diplomatic process agreed upon by Israel to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiation table.


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