Several days before Israeli-Palestinian talks are due to reconvene in Jerusalem, a severe crisis is in the making. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, in meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and special envoy Martin Indyk, condemned what they describe as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu violation of agreements on the release of prisoners and construction in settlements.
As part of the effort to renew the direct negotiations, Israel promised to release 104 Palestinian prisoners in four phases, during a period of eight months. On Sunday, the special ministerial committee on the release of Palestinian prisoners approved the release of the first group, consisting of 26 prisoners involved in the murders of Israelis in the pre-Oslo era. Nine of these prisoners were due to complete their sentences in the next three years.
The list is to be published overnight Sunday on the Israel Prison Services’ website in order to allow the public to file objections with the High Court of Justice.
The inmates are to be transferred into the Palestinian Authority’s territory on Tuesday night – 48 hours after their identities are published.
Read more at Haaretz.com.