Sunday, 11 August 2013

Israel approves release of 26 Palestinian prisoners


Israel's government has approved the release of 26 long-term Palestinian prisoners, as part of a deal which will see peace talks resume next week.

A list of names chosen by a ministerial committee will be published overnight.

The prisoners will be freed on Tuesday. The delay allows time for last-minute legal challenges by victims' families.

The announcement came after Palestinian officials accused Israel of trying to sabotage the peace talks by approving nearly 1,200 new settlement homes.

An Israeli government spokesman dismissed the criticism, saying every peace initiative so far had proposed that the settlements in question become Israeli territory. The Palestinians are willing to accept land swaps.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. more

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