Palestinian prisoners to be freed are taken off buses and returned to jail cells.
The Israeli cabinet approved the release of 87 Palestinian men, including two minors, a week ago but authorities announced a further delay on Monday morning.
|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 release was delayed “for technical reasons”, according to Yaron Zamir, Israeli prisons authority spokesman.
“Although the number of prisoners is not very large, its always a cause for celebration.”
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 prisoners to be released come from Gaza and the others from the West Bank.
Odeh said: “As far as percentage is concerned, the number of Gaza residents that remain detained by Israeli authorities is far smaller than that of West Bank residents.”
One prisoner from the West Bank that was on the release roster for Monday was found to have changed allegiance in jail, from Fatah to the Hamas movement, and was held back, a senior security official told AFP news agency.