PM agrees to release $100 million in frozen funds

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to release $100 million in tax rebates to the Palestinians and ease travel restrictions in the West Bank, a senior Palestinian negotiator said Saturday. Olmert made the pledges in a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. The two leaders also decided to hold more meetings, but no dates were set. Israel had frozen the transfer of tax rebates and other funds to the Palestinians after the Islamic militant Hamas came to power in March. In the Olmert-Abbas meeting, the Israeli leader said he would release $100 million of those funds for humanitarian needs. Olmert also agreed to remove several West Bank roadblocks in coming days, according to a list the Palestinians submitted to Israel, Erekat said.