World Bulletin/News Desk
Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqeh on Monday confirmed that Israeli authorities planned to release 30 Palestinian detainees later this month.
Israel had informed the Palestinian side that the prisoners would be released on October 29 but had failed to provide a final list of names, Qaraqeh told Anadolu Agency.
Israel news website Walla reported earlier that Tel Aviv had finalized a list of the 30 prisoners to be released in the second stage of an overall plan to release a total of 104 prisoners in hopes of kick-starting US-brokered peace talks with Palestine.
In mid-August, Israel released a first batch of 26 Palestinian detainees, including 15 from the Gaza Strip and 11 from the West Bank.
The remaining 48 prisoners will have to wait for the third and fourth stages, the minister said.
Those to be released have been languishing in Israeli jails since before the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The prisoner release is meant to be a "goodwill gesture" on Israel's part.
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators resumed peace talks in late July under US sponsorship following a three-year hiatus.
Ongoing negotiations between the two sides generally take place in complete secrecy. Results of the talks are not announced to the media.
According to Palestinian figures, nearly 4,800 Palestinians – including 14 female prisoners – remain jailed in Israeli detention facilities.
The Israeli cabinet had earlier approved the release of 104 longstanding Palestinian prisoners over four stages, ending on March 29 of next year.Last Mod: 21 Ekim 2013, 17:48