Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, pledged to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday that Israel will consider the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners, said Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Eriqat.
The Palestinian Authority’s negotiator told reporters in Ramallah that Olmert’s pledge came during a meeting today with President Abbas at Olmert’s residence in west Jerusalem.
‘ those slated for release are the ones with long-tem sentences and chronic diseases’, Eriqat explained.
The meeting also tackled other outstanding issues between the two sides, such as underway Israeli settlement activities and existence of hundreds of Israeli army checkpoints across the West Bank, where Abbas holds a sway, added Eriqat.
The Palestinian official pointed out that the two leaders will meet again in two weeks, within a series of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, in the hope that the parties reach an agreement by the end of 2008, the date slated for a two-state solution, as prospected by U.S President Gorge. W Bush.
Last week, senior Palestinian and Israeli negotiators including Ahmas Qurai of the PA and Tsibi Livni, foreign minister of Israel, held a new round of negotiations in Washington, in which the Palestinian side handed over a list of would-be freed prisoners.
Israel currently holds more than 11,500 Palestinian prisoners involving men, women and juveniles in its jails. The prisoners’ profile is one of the most contentious items of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks’ agenda.