Israel will be releasing, on Monday [December 30, 2013], 26 veteran Palestinian detainees who have been held since before the first Oslo agreement of 1993. The detainees will be released by midnight; Israel is currently finalizing paperwork and some medical tests before the release.
This would mark the implementation of the third phase of releasing all veteran detainees as part of direct political talks between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.
A week ago, the special Israeli committee in charge of the release determined the names of the 26 detainees and published them, to grant the Israelis the chance to file appeals.
The fourth and final stage of releasing veteran detainees will be conducted on March 28, 2014. In total 104 veteran detainees will be freed.
During the first and second phases, Israel released, back in mid-August, 26 veteran detainees (14 from Gaza and 12 from the West bank), and in late October it released 26 veteran detainees (21 from Gaza and 5 from the West Bank).
The release is part of an American-mediated direct peace talks, which were resumed back in July of this year.
Israeli legislators and officials tried to block the release and called for voiding it.
In a recent report, the Census Department of the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees published its annual report stating that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, this year, 3,874 Palestinians, including 931 children.
The Census Department said that 1,975 of the kidnapped are between the ages of 18 and 30 (%51 of the total number of kidnapped Palestinians), the number includes 931 children (% 24) below the age of 18.