Celebrations in Ramallah as Palestinian prisoners released.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
The Palestinian Authority published on Tuesday a list of 30 terrorists it expected Israel to free in a fourth and final prisoner release at the end of the month. The list reportedly included 14 Arab-Israelis and four Palestinians from east Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has until now adamantly refused to free Arab-Israelis as part of the releases, which Israel committed to as a goodwill gesture for resuming the current round of peace negotiations.
Of the long-serving prisoners on the list of convicted murderers were the Israeli-Arab cousins Kareem and Maher Younis who received life sentences in 1983 for stabbing to death two years earlier the IDF soldier Avraham Bromberg.
Also among the listed Arab-Israeli prisoners with "blood on their hands," was a resident of the Wadi Ara village of Baka al-Gharbiya
who was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted for the abduction and murder of an Israeli soldier in 1984.
The last batch of convicted Palestinian murderers was expected for release by March 29.
"The fourth [release] is a test of Israel's preparedness for a just peace with the Palestinian people," said PA Prisoner Affairs Minister
Issa Karaka, adding a warning that "any attempt to evade [the move] will lead to an explosion within the prisons."
The Israel Prison Service responded that the Palestinian report was not official and that they could not confirm that those on the list were indeed being released.
Meir Indor, the head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, said that "if the report is true, it is a scandal, because the state promised us at the High Court there would be an additional cabinet meeting prior to the release of the fourth batch of prisoners."
Indor said that Almagor believes there is not a majority in the government to release Arab-Israeli murderers. He said that he was meeting with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday to see if the Palestinian claims are true.Ben Hartman contributed to this report.
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