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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid