Final official list to be published Sunday night, to include 14 Hamas prisoners exiled to Gaza.
‘Move meant to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas,’ political source says.
By Attila Somfalvi
The ministerial committee appointed to determine which Palestinian prisoners will be the first to be released approved a list of 26 prisoners to be released on Tuesday.
The list, to be published tonight on 1 am, includes 14 prisoners to be released into the Gaza Strip, several of which are Hamas members.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is recovering from a hernia operation, was not present in the meeting.
The committee’s decision was informed by Shin Bet data and recommendations. According to a political source, several of the names were changed during the meeting. “The move was meant to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas,” he added.
The law stipulates that the names of the prisoners must be published 48 hours before their release on the Israel Prison Service’s website.
President Shimon Peres will be required to sign pardons for prisoners sentenced by civilian courts, if Israeli citizens are on the list. The IDF central district commander will be required to sign pardons for Palestinian prisoners judged in military courts.
The ministers’ choices were influenced by the aim of improving Abbas’ standing among the Palestinians, but also not to arouse public scrutiny in Israel.
Earlier, Palestinian President Abbas said Israel will release 104 Palestinian prisoners who were jailed before the Oslo Accords were signed, including Arab-Israelis and residents of east Jerusalem. Abbas’ statement was given during a meeting in his office with Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Karaka.
According to him, the release will be made in four stages, and no prisoner will be deported from his homeland. Abbas added that prisoners’ release will improve the chances to reach a peace deal with Israel.
Earlier Sunday, families of terror victims demanded to present their case to the committee, following the State’s statement during a High Court debate according to which the families will be given the right to voice their objections to the release.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4416507,00.html