News / Middle East

Israel Names Palestinian Prisoners to Be Released

The mother of Palestinian Salah al-Shaer, who has been held by Israel for 20 years, kisses his picture after hearing news on the expected release of her son by Israel, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 12, 2013.
The mother of Palestinian Salah al-Shaer, who has been held by Israel for 20 years, kisses his picture after hearing news on the expected release of her son by Israel, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 12, 2013.
VOA News
Israel has published the names of 26 long-held Palestinian prisoners it plans to release ahead of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on Wednesday.

Most of the Palestinians to be freed were jailed in the late 1980s and early 1990s for murder and attempted murder of Israelis and other Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

The 26 prisoners are the first of 104 inmates that Israel has agreed to release in stages depending on the progress of the U.S.-backed peace talks.

Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe called the planned prisoner release a "good step."

"This is an important thing for us. The prisoners who will be released, most of them were sentenced to a lifetime [in jail]. The majority of them have spent more than 20 years in the [Israeli] occupation jails. I think this is an important achievement," said Issa Qaraq.

An Israeli organization representing victims of terrorism expressed outrage at the Israeli government's move. Almagor head Meir Indor said it is a sad day for the families of those killed by the soon-to-be released Palestinians.

"One of the victims was Isaac Rotenberg. He was a Holocaust survivor, he was a [World War II partisan," said Indor. "He made it [through], he came to Israel after all his family was destroyed. He fought for the country, became a small businessman and a building contractor, and his workers killed him with knives. What a shame!"

Relatives of the 26 prisoners celebrated the Israeli announcement.

In Bethlehem, women and children sang and danced at the home of Khaled Mohamed Asakreh. He was arrested by Israel in 1991 and convicted of stabbing to death a 64-year-old female French tourist at a restaurant where he worked as a waiter. Khaled's brother Nayef expressed mixed emotions.

"I feel good, but I wish my parents were still alive to welcome Khaled after this long period. My father spent 20 years visiting his son and waiting for the moment to see Khaled [free]," said Nayef Asakreh.

Israel published the prisoners' names early Monday, triggering a 48-hour period in which Israelis can petition the nation's highest court to block the releases. But, the court is not expected to intervene.

The publication came hours after Israel approved the building of almost 1,200 new homes in occupied areas claimed by the Palestinians. Palestinian officials criticized Sunday's move as an attempt to undermine the peace process.

The areas where the new homes will be built include parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem and the West Bank for a future state, and say Israeli settlement expansion will make it harder for them to achieve that.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev rejected the criticism, saying the new homes will be located in areas that Israel is likely to keep in any peace deal.

The U.S. government refuses to accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity. It has called on both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid actions that complicate negotiations.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 12, 2013 11:43 AM
The base line is the "new construction would take place in areas Israel intends to keep in any peace agreement", said Regev. Israel makes it position clear and transparent. But there are detractors just ready to fault everything Israel does. Israel is releasing dozens of Palestinian prisoners - murderers with blood on their hands and terrorist history. Surely they will again try to harm Israelis, but there is 80% chance they may also kill others who are not Israelis in the course of carrying out their nefarious business. That apart, why is it that Palestinians are still living in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan as refugees? What happens to their homes in PLO controlled West Bank? There is a border link with both Syria and Lebanon, who stopped them from returning to their homes? Or are they holed up in refugee camps to attract sympathy to the Palestinian cause? Surely there is enough land in West Bank to accommodate them all if they chose to return.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid