The Israel Prison Service publicized the names late Sunday of the 26 Palestinians to be released from Israeli jails, the second batch of pre-Oslo inmates convicted of terrorism who are to be freed as part of the ongoing peace negotiations between Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority.

Earlier on Sunday, a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved a list of the prisoners to be released in the second of a four-stage process by which 104 Palestinian prisoners will be sent to the Palestinian Authority as a measure for resuming peace talks.

In the first stage of the release this past August, 26 Palestinians were freed.
The issue of prisoner releases is a politically sensitive one for Israel, where the bereaved kin enlist public opinion to pressure the government against freeing Palestinians who have committed violent crimes against Israelis, including murder.

All of the 26 prisoners on the IPS list were either convicted of murder or attempted murder. Among the most notable cases is Damouni Saad Mohammed Ahmed, who was convicted of involvement in the brutal lynch of IDF reservist Amnon Pomerantz in the Gaza Strip in 1990.

Another Palestinian set to be freed is Massoud Issa Rajib Amer, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who in 1993 was convicted of brutally hacking to death Ian Feinberg, a young lawyer who spent time in Gaza cultivating ties to the local Palestinian community while trying to promote economic projects.

Amer was also convicted of killing three Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Israel will also release Tukeman Yusef Suleiman Mahmed, Abu Hanana Zakariya Udia Usama, and Abdel-Aziz Said Kassam Ahmed, three men involved in the 1992 shooting death of Moshe Biton. Biton was shot and killed after entering a convenience store, and his wife was shot after trying to tend to him.

Samarin Mustafa Kalib Asrar and Kra'an Azat Musa Musa, the two Fatah terrorists who abducted and murdered Israeli soldier Tzvi Klein in the West Bank in 1992 are also scheduled to be released this week.

Abu-Dahila Hasan Atik Sharif, a Fatah operative who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Avi Osher, his Israeli employer at the Jordan Valley farm he owned, in 1991, is also among those to be freed this week.

Gnimat Amar Mahmad Mustafa and Gnimat Mahmoud Mahmad Ziad, two Palestinian men convicted in the murder of Meir Ben-Yair and Michal Cohen while they sat in a car in Judean foothills in 1985 are also set to be freed.

The two Palestinians convicted of killing Yoself Eliyahu and Leah Elmakayes are also among the 26 names announced by the IPS late Sunday. Yosef Mahmad Haza Haza and Beni-Hasan Abdalla Mahmud Otman were serving life sentences for the murder of Eliyahu and Elmakayes, two hikers trekking across a forest in the Gilboa Mountains.

Asor Masbach Khalil Mahmad, who was serving a 30-year jail term for the murder of Israeli taxi driver David Kaspi in 1985, will also go free this week, the IPS announced.

Abed al Raba Nimr Jabril Issa, the Palestinian man convicted of killing Revital Seri and Ron Levy while they were hiking in 1984, is also on the list of prisoners scheduled to be released this week.

Sabbag Ahmed Mahmud Mahmed was a young Fatah operative who was given a life term in prison for the torture and murder of three Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel in 1990. He, too, will be released this week.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger