EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 30, 2013

Israel releases 26 Palestinian prisoners

(Continued)

Standing alongside the newly freed prisoners, Abbas said a final peace deal with Israel was contingent on the release of prisoners held in its jails. “There will be no final agreement without the release of all the prisoners,” he told the raucous crowd.

The fate of the prisoners is a deeply emotional issue in Palestinian society. After decades of fighting Israel, many families have had a member imprisoned and the release of prisoners has been a longstanding demand.

Among those freed Wednesday are people jailed in connection to the killings of Israelis including a reservist and a Nazi death camp survivor, according to a list provided by Israel’s prison service. Many of the killings occurred before the beginning of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in 1993.

Israel’s Supreme Court earlier rejected an appeal that sought to cancel the prisoner release. An organization of bereaved families behind the appeal has said it fears the prisoners, all convicted in connection to the deaths of Israelis, will return to violence once freed.

Highlighting the opposition to the move, some 50 Israelis protested outside the West Bank prison where the inmates were held ahead of the release.

They raised signs reading “death to murderers” and burned keffiyehs, traditional Palestinian headscarves. Over a thousand people demonstrated against the release on Monday.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israeli TV he felt for the bereaved families but that the decision to free the prisoners came from a “responsibility to guide the state of Israel according to a long-term strategy.”

Israel has a long history of lopsided prisoner exchanges with its Arab adversaries. But Wednesday’s release appeared especially charged because Israel is receiving little in return except for the opportunity to conduct negotiations that few people believe will be successful.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said he will announce new settlement plans, apparently to make up for the release.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel David Perdue Wins Georgia GOP Senate Runoff 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion
Latest World News
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Today in History for July 24th Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Rescue Workers at Taiwan Plane Crash Site Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Fighting Rages Amid Mideast Truce Push Raw: Secretary of State Kerry in Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Raw: Typhoon Brings Heavy Wind, Rain to Taiwan Today in History for July 23rd Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris Raw: Massive Explosion in Gaza City
Photos of the Week