Israel to free ‘around 80′ Palestinians

AFP-JIJI

Israel is set to decide on the release of around 80 long-serving Palestinian prisoners ahead of renewed peace talks, an Israeli official said Monday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had agreed to meet to prepare a resumption of direct peace talks, stalled since 2010.

“The prisoner releases will start when talks commence,” the Israeli official said. “We’re talking about releasing them in stages.”

There were “some 80 prisoners” set to be released, all of them “pre-Oslo,” the official added, referring to Palestinians imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo peace accords. The official would not say when a decision on their release would be made, and by whom — whether the issue would go before the government, ministers or just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.