Palestinian prisoners to be freed are taken off buses and returned to jail cells.
|Israel’s Palestinian prisoners|
9,850 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails.
105 are women.
359 are children.
40 Palestinian Legislative Council members are also under arrest.
Marwan Barghouti, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, is one of the most prominent detainees and is seen as a potential future Palestinian leader.
Sources: Palestinian Ministry for Prisoner Affairs (July 2006), B’Tselem (Oct 2006)
The freeing of prisoners is emotionally charged for Palestinians, who see their nearly 11,000 brethren held in Israeli jails as fighters for freedom from Israeli occupation.
The talks will host Olmert and Abbas alongside other Arab leaders, but exclude Hamas.
Palestinians are divided on whether the conference will do anything to bring them closer to statehood.
Twenty-nine of the 87 prisoners expected to be released come from Gaza and the others from the West Bank.
Major General Eli Gabison, head of the prison service in southern Israel, said all detainees hailing from Gaza were asked whether they wanted to return to the territory and all said yes.