26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed by Israel before peace talks
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel is to release 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners ahead of a resumption of Middle East peace talks scheduled for Wednesday. The exact timing is still to be announced.
The release of the prisoners, all but one of whom were jailed before the Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, has been hailed by Palestinian negotiators but has incensed some Israeli officials.
Many of the inmates were arrested on charges of murder, according to a list published on Monday, and the families of the victims have appealed unsuccessfully against their release.
The 26 prisoners will constitute the first batch of 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners to be freed in four stages, depending on progress in the US-brokered peace talks.