Cabinet due to discuss 'good will' prisoner release

150 to 220 prisoners without "blood on their hands" to be considered.

PalestinianPrisoners 224 (photo credit: AP [file])
PalestinianPrisoners 224
(photo credit: AP [file])
The cabinet is expected to discuss on Sunday the release of some 150 Palestinian prisoners to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before the start of Ramadan, which begins on September 1. The cabinet will reportedly be given the names of some 150 to 220 prisoners without "blood on their hands," and another three to five prisoners who have served long sentences for attacks. A ministerial committee headed by Vice Premier Haim Ramon and including Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and Minister without Portfolio Ami Ayalon met Monday and came up with the list of names. Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office said the prisoners would likely be released on August 25. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had promised Abbas in Paris last month that Israel would release the prisoners as a goodwill gesture, a promise he reiterated when the two met last week. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office said the idea behind the planned release was to demonstrate to the Palestinians, for whom the prisoner issue is a major concern, that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority could deliver.