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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid