Bereaved families protest prisoner release outside Court 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Israeli terror victim organization Almagor reacted early Monday morning to the announcement of the names of the first 26 prisoners to be released as a gesture of goodwill to the Palestinians.
"This is a day of celebration for the Palestinian terror organizations, and a sad day for bereaved families and for Israeli society," Almagor head Meir Indor said.
He accused the Israeli government of "caving in to terror and covering this up with an array of PR stunts," and vowed to "turn heaven and earth to fight against terror and to bring the terrorists to justice."
The Israel Prison Service published on Sunday overnight
a list of 26 Palestinian prisoners who will be released from Israeli jails ahead of renewed peace negotiations after a ministerial panel approved their release.
The names of the prisoners were released on the Israel Prisons Service website after the families of the victims were notified of the pending release. The public now has 48 hours to appeal the release.
The first 26 Palestinian prisoners on the Israel Prisons Service list do not include any Israeli citizens. Number 26 on the prisoner list is a man reportedly arrested in February 2001, contradicting statements that prisoners were to be pre-Oslo detainees.
Fourteen of the 26 Palestinian prisoners are to be released to the Gaza Strip, and the remaining 12 will go to the West Bank, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement close to midnight.
Eight of those to be released were in any event to be released over the next three years, with two of them up for release within the next six months.
Three of the five ministers authorized by the cabinet two weeks ago to draw up the list of 26 prisoners to be released in four stages over the next nine months of negotiations met late Sunday night to come up with the names.
Officials on Sunday night confirmed that 26 of the 104 pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners will be released before Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat meet Wednesday in Jerusalem to begin talks.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.