Israel okays Fatah prisoner release

Gesture to free 250 prisoners aimed at strengthening Palestinian moderates.

    Olmert agreed to the prisoner
    release at a meeting in Egypt [AFP]

    Cabinet participants, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was still going on, said the release was approved by a wide margin.

    New list

    Olmert on Saturday had rejected a preliminary list of names to be released drawn up by the Shin Beth internal security agency and the justice ministry, as the sentences of several of the people on it were due to end soon anyway.

    "The prime minister believed the release would not only not help Abbas, but would actually be seen as a slap in the face," a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

     

    Olmert has ordered a new list drawn up, with prisoners on it having at least a third of their sentence left to serve.

      

    They are all to be members of secular Fatah and "men who can  reinforce the moderates among the Palestinians," Miri Eisin, Israeli government spokeswoman, said.

     

    Israel currently holds more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, just over half of them having been convicted of an offence and more than 800 of them being held without charge.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.