Palestinian prisoner list released in advance of renewed talks

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A committee of government ministers released a list of Palestinian prisoners to be freed this week in the first round of peace negotiations.

The list released at 1 a.m. on Monday includes 14 prisoners who will be transferred to Gaza, several of whom are members of Hamas. Eight prisoners on the list were due to be released in the next three years and two in the next six months.


Twenty-one of the Palestinian prisoners on the list were convicted of killing Israelis or Palestinians accused of being collaborators, and most had served at least 20 years.

Some of the families of the victims of the prisoners were notified of the release decision before the list was made public, at their request.

Under Israeli law, the names of the prisoners must be made public 48 hours before their release in order to allow Supreme Court challenges.

Eventually 104 prisoners jailed before the 1993 Oslo Accords will be released in phases over the next eight months, pending progress in the talks.

Sunday’s committee meeting will take place without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who underwent hernia surgery late Saturday night.

Following publication of the list, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the prisoner release violated agreements with Israel, saying that prisoners were not supposed to be deported to Gaza or abroad. Abbas and Erekat reportedly told senior U.S. officials they would not agree to the deportation of any prisoner released, according to Haaretz.

Abbas and Erekat also decried the announcement of new construction approvals for hundreds of apartments in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

The peace talks are scheduled to resume Wednesday in Jerusalem, after a five year freeze. The Palestinians have threatened to skip the meetings scheduled for Wednesday, according to reports.