Israel has released 199 Palestinian prisoners on Monday morning ahead of a visit to the region by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state. Palestinian sources reported.
The Israeli cabinet had approved a list of 199 detainees for release describing it as a ‘goodwill’ gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The prisoners left their tents in the early morning and were put on busses that will take them to the Beituniuya checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Ramallah heading to Abbas’ presidential compound in Ramallah for an official celebration.
Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Ashraf Al-Ajrami said this release is different as Israel eased its conditions on releasing Palestinian prisoners who have killed Israelis. Two of the released prisoners, were spending life terms for being involved in killing Israeli soldiers and settlers during resistance operations.
On the other hand, leader of the Israeli opposition Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Israeli governemnt for this release saying the government should not release Palestinians ‘with blood on their hands,’ while Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is still held in the Gaza Strip.
As Israel ocasionally release a number of Palestinian prisoners, the number of the currently imprisoned Palestinians continue to grow. There are over 11,000 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli detention centers, among them around 85 women and children in varying stages of health.
As of writing this report, 130 Palestinians ahve been taken prisoner In the month of August, alone and 313 in July.