Peres: Release all Palestinian inmates for peace

Monday's Ma'ariv quoted the Israeli president as saying in an interview that given the limited mandate of the Palestinian Authority after Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip, the Olmert government should demand quiet in the West Bank rather than ceding physical control of the territory at this time. In exchange for the Palestinian Authority meeting "security benchmarks," Peres said, Israel should release Palestinian prisoners - there are approximately 10,000, many of them terrorists convicted of lethal attacks - over five years. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert nixed the proposal as unfeasible, Ma'ariv reported. Peres, a former prime minister whose role as head of state is largely ceremonial, was unfazed. "The fact that I am the president of everyone does not mean that I am the president of nothing," Ma'ariv quoted him as saying, adding that "therefore he will continue to advance ideas and initiatives and propose them to the relevant people."