Israel may release more Palestinian prisoners ahead of the Annapolis peace conference.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is considering a Palestinian Authority request to free as many as 2,000 prisoners as a goodwill gesture, Israel Radio reported Monday.
According to Yediot Achronot, the prospective release roster includes Palestinians “with blood on their hands,” a term for those convicted of a direct role in lethal terrorist attacks.
Jerusalem sources confirmed that a prisoner release is being weighed as a means of bolstering Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas domestically before he meets Olmert under U.S. auspices in Annapolis, Maryland in the coming weeks.
Israel has granted early releases to a few hundred Palestinian prisoners this year, most of them from Abbas’ Fatah faction and none of them senior terrorists. Olmert has ruled out clemency for Hamas inmates.