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Israel OK’s list of Palestinian prisoners to be freed

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A committee of government ministers approved a list of 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released as part of the revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

It is the third round of Palestinian prisoner releases since the American-backed peace negotiations began in July.

The list was published late Saturday night on the Israel Prison Service website. Any objections to the release of the prisoners must be filed with Israel’s Supreme Court within 48 hours of the announcement.

The prisoners to be released committed their crimes before the Oslo Accords and have served at least 19 years of their sentences, according to a statement released Saturday night by the Prime Minister’s Office. “If any of those to be released resume hostile activity, they will be returned to serve the remainder of their sentences,” the statement said.

The prisoners will be released late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

New construction in West Bank settlements is expected to be announced at the same time as the release or immediately after, according to reports.

The announcement Saturday night came as dozens of protesters, including victims’ family members, demonstrated in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem.

Some 22 more Palestinian prisoners are set to be released early next year as part of the diplomatic process agreed upon by Israel at the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians.

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