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Israel releases hundreds of Palestinian prisoners

Article published on the 2008-12-15 Latest update 2008-12-15 15:09 TU

Palestinian prisoners wait in line before their release on Monday(Photo: Reuters)

Palestinian prisoners wait in line before their release on Monday
(Photo: Reuters)

Israel began releasing Palestinian prisoners on Monday after a legal appeal against their release failed. Israel's Supreme Court rejected a challenge by two Israeli organisations who charged that the released prisoners "would resume their terrorist activities".

Israel's Prison Service said 209 prisoners would be released from the West Bank and 18 from the Gaza strip. The releases follow the Israeli's cabinet decision last month to extend a gesture of goodwill to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The peace process has made little progress, which has resulted in Abbas losing credibility with the Palestinian people, according to Jerusalem-based correspondent Peretz Kidron.

"These prisoner releases are an attempt by Israel to show that he does get some kind of result," said Kidron. "Israeli security forces are constantly picking up more Palestinians in the West Bank, so the numbers released are negligible and it doesn't really solve the problem," he added. 

Interview: Correspondent Peretz Kidron in Jerusalem

15/12/2008 by Salil Sarkar

 There are currently 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Meanwhile on Monday the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with  Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in London. Brown welcomed last week's call by the Arab League for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Arab League sent a letter to US president-elect Barack Obama with what it called "its vision for an end" to the conflict.

Brown described settlement building by Israel as "a barrier to reaching the agreement that everyone thinks is possible".