Skip to main content

Israel says it will release 26 Palestinian prisoners over next two days

By Ray Sanchez, CNN
updated 10:37 PM EST, Sat December 28, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The prisoners will be released Monday or Tuesday, Israeli prime minister's office says
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry return to the region later in the week
  • Prisoners "have served sentences of 19-28 years," according to Israeli statement
  • Israel pledged to carry out the release in peace talks that started in the summer

(CNN) -- Israel announced Saturday that it will release 26 Palestinian prisoners over the next two days in a step aimed at "resuming the diplomatic process," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

The Palestinian prisoners will be released Monday or Tuesday in advance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's return to the region later in the week in hopes of advancing the peace process.

Israel pledged to carry out the release in peace talks started last summer.

Kerry heading to Jerusalem, Ramallah next week

"In the wake of the Government's 28 July 2013 decision to resume the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and authorize a ministerial team on the release of prisoners during the negotiations, the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners was authorized this evening," the statement from Netanyahu's office said.

The statement said the prisoners "perpetrated offenses prior to the Oslo accords and have served sentences of 19-28 years."

A list of the prisoners' names was to be published Saturday night on Israel's Prison Service website.

The release is expected at least 48 hours after the list is published.

"At the discussion, it was emphasized that if any of those to be released resume hostile activity they will be returned to serve the remainder of their sentences," the statement said.

CNN's Michael Schwartz in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 11:56 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT