Palestinian prisoners to be freed are taken off buses and returned to jail cells.
One prisoner from the West Bank who 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, the Israel Prisons Service said.
|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)
A third bus, which was supposed to leave for the Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip with the other 29 men, remained at the prison.
The majority of the men on the release roster were members of Abbas’s Fatah faction, with the rest coming from the smaller Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) groups.
“Although the number of prisoners is not very large, it’s 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.