Israel to release Palestinian prisoners in 2 weeks

Wider plan involves release of 104 Palestinians for ongoing peace talks amid Israeli plans to construct new Jewish-only settlements on occupied land

Israel to release Palestinian prisoners in 2 weeks

World Bulletin/News Desk

Palestinian and Israeli negotiation teams met Monday in occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem) within the context of ongoing peace talks, a Palestinian source said Tuesday.

According to the source, the Palestinian delegation included chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohamed Shtayeh.

Discussions focused on Israeli-Palestinian security coordination and a second group of Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel on September 29.

"Palestinian negotiators demanded a role in selecting the names of prisoners to be released," the source told Anadolu Agency. "They also demanded to know the details [of the deal] before the prisoner release."

In mid-August, Israel released 26 Palestinian detainees – including 15 from the Gaza Strip and 11 from the West Bank – as part of a wider plan to release a total of 104 prisoners.

Those released had been languishing in Israeli jails since before the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The prisoner release was considered a "goodwill gesture" on Israel's part.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators resumed peace talks in late July under US sponsorship following a three-year hiatus.

Ongoing negotiations between the two sides generally take place in complete secrecy. Results of the talks are not announced to the media.

Israel, however, regularly announces plans for the construction of new Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel will also occasionally launch sweeping arrest campaigns of Palestinian activists in different parts of the West Bank.

Many Palestinian observers believe the arrests harm peacemaking efforts, asserting that the ongoing detentions and illegal settlement building show that Israel wants negotiations to fail.   

Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2013, 13:53
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