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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs