Israel rebuffs amnesty demand


Israel rebuffed the Palestinian Authority’s demand for a mass prisoner amnesty.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said Tuesday that, following consultations with Israeli security chiefs, he had decided to respond to a Hamas demand for the release of 1,400 Palestinian prisoners with “disappointment and misgivings” and ask Egyptian mediators to continue working on terms that would be more feasible for Jerusalem.

Hamas wants the amnesty as ransom for an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, who has been held hostage in Gaza since last June. Israel balked mainly at the inclusion on the release roster of senior Palestinian terrorists including Fatah legislator and militia chief Marwan Barghouti.

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