Second group of Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli jails


Twenty-six Palestinian prisoners were transferred to Ofer Prison near Jerusalem Monday, to be processed for release Tuesday evening. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Magister

Late Tuesday night, 26 Palestinian prisoners will be free to return to their homes. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Prisons Service told the AFP that the prisoners would be split up and bussed to two different checkpoints for entry into the Palestinian territories.

According to a statement published Sunday from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s website, all 26 of the prisoners had perpetrated offenses before the 1993 Oslo Accords and served prison sentences of 19-28 years. All but two of the prisoners were serving life sentences.

“The decision to release the prisoners is one of the most difficult I’ve had to make,” Netanyahu said Monday on public radio. “It is unjust because these terrorists are being released before completing their sentence. My heart is with the families of the victims.”

The releases are the second phase of 104 Palestinian prisoner releases agreed upon in order to re-open peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. The ongoing peace talks have occurred under a U.S.-imposed media blackout and therefore, there are few details known about their progress.