Israel names 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government has approved the list of Palestinian prisoners it plans to release from jail this week. It would be the third such group released in recent months.

As part of the peace talks renewed through American efforts in July, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government agreed to release 104 long-serving Palestinian prisoners as the negotiations advance.

The latest list, containing the names of 26 Palestinians serving long-term jail sentences for killing Israelis and other violent attacks carried out between 1985 and the 1993 Oslo accords, was published on the Israel Prison Service website. The publication allows a 48-hour window for legal petitions against the release, which is scheduled for tonight or Tuesday morning.

Typically, Israel's Supreme Court rejects petitions against government decisions to release prisoners.

Like the previous two releases, the current one is surrounded by controversy, as bereaved families protest releasing their relatives' killers and right-wing politicians criticize the policy.

In an attempt to ease the controversy over the prisoner releases and to appease increasingly restive hawks in his ruling coalition, Netanyahu coupled the releases so far with announcements of plans for large-scale construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Rocket fired: In the first border flareup of its kind in four months, a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday. The strike triggered an artillery barrage from Israeli forces. No casualties were reported on either side. It was not clear who fired the rocket.

Israel names 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released 12/29/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 30, 2013 12:00am]

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