RealNews

Israel to Free More Prisoners

The Israeli Government has voted to release a new batch of Palestinian prisoners – a gesture likely to bolster relations with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen. But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the move will be limited and will only proceed in tandem with a crackdown on militant groups by the Palestinian authorities. A ministerial committee will decide who will be released from a list of 200-400 candidates drawn up by Israel’s Shin Bet security services – militants and those involved in violence against Israelis will not be eligible. Securing the freedom of prisoners is a top priority for Abu Mazen, but the proposed releases fall well short of Palestinian demands that all prisoners in Israeli custody be freed. The BBC’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Michael Voss, says a large-scale prisoner release would ease the pressure on Abu Mazen as he tries to persuade militant groups to support the ceasefire with Israel. Full Story

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