News / Middle East

Israel Approves Release of Palestinian Prisoners, Peace Talks

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen chairing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 28, 2013.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen chairing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 28, 2013.
x
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen chairing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 28, 2013.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen chairing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 28, 2013.
Robert Berger
Israel's government has endorsed a plan to restart peace talks with the Palestinians and is offering a goodwill gesture that is controversial in the country.

Israel's Cabinet has approved the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners to clear the way for new peace talks. The release was a Palestinian condition for resuming negotiations that collapsed in 2010.

Most of the prisoners were involved in deadly terrorist attacks and have been jailed since before Israel and the Palestinians signed the landmark Oslo Peace Accords in 1993.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it is a difficult decision for him and the Cabinet, and especially for bereaved families. He said difficult decisions are necessary, though, to achieve peace.

Netanyahu said negotiations are important to Israel in order to end the conflict with the Palestinians, and in light of strategic threats from the civil war in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program.

In an apparent attempt to ease public concern about possible territorial concessions, the Cabinet also voted to put any final agreement on the creation of a Palestinian state to a national referendum.

The prisoner release faced fierce opposition in the Cabinet, and the final vote was 13 to seven, with two abstentions. Naftali Bennett of the hawkish Jewish Home Party voted against. He said those who demand the release of murderers of women and children are not a partner for peace.  

But Kadoura Fares, who heads a Palestinian advocacy group for prisoners, said the men to be released have served long enough, and have renounced violence.

He told Israel Radio that the prisoners carried out attacks more than 20 years ago, and today support the peace process.

Israeli and Palestinian chief negotiators are due to meet this week in Washington, D.C., to hammer out a framework for the formal resumption of peace talks.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More