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Israel Says Will Release 250 Palestinian Terrorists

From those champions of justice at Reuters:

Israel agrees to release Palestinian prisoners

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s cabinet agreed on Sunday to release 250 Palestinian prisoners in the latest attempt to strengthen Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after Hamas’s seizure of the Gaza Strip.

“I think this is a worthy gesture to make … because we want to use any means that can reinforce moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet in broadcast remarks.

Olmert had pledged to free prisoners of Abbas’s Fatah movement in a June 25 summit with the Palestinian leader as part of a Western campaign to bolster the new administration he named after sacking a unity government with Hamas Islamists.

But Olmert assured the cabinet he would not free “prisoners with blood on their hands” — Israel’s term for Palestinians jailed for deadly attacks against Israelis.

A government official said the cabinet voted 18 to 6 in favor of a motion to release 250 prisoners.

A final release roster will be put together by a committee. Once the Israeli list is approved, it could still take days before prisoners are freed since Israel would allow 48 hours for the releases to be challenged in petitions to the Supreme Court.

Previous prisoner releases have raised opposition from groups representing families of Israelis harmed in Palestinian attacks. Palestinians regard prisoners held by Israel as heroes of what they call resistance against occupation.

Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Abbas, welcomed the Israeli decision but urged it to draw up the list of those to be freed in coordination with the Palestinians.

“The prisoner issue needs more than gestures to be resolved, however, we welcome the release of prisoners any time,” he said.

Officials estimate there are at least 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails…

One understands Israel’s desperate hope that the Palestinian civil war will have knocked some sense into Fatah.

But really, when have concessions ever gotten the Israelis anything but more attacks? 

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, July 8th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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