Israel releases Palestinian prisoners


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel released more than 200 Palestinian prisoners.

The release began Monday at noon, with most of the prisoners transferred from Ofer Prison, near Jerusalem, to a West Bank checkpoint. The others were scheduled to be sent from Shikma Prison in the Negev to the Erez checkpoint in Gaza.

Some 227 Palestinian prisoners were set to be freed, but the release of three was still under review.

Israel’s High Court of Justice canceled a temporary injunction against the release following several petitions claiming it would cause more terrorism and that some of the prisoners had "blood on their hands."

The release was a confidence-building measure for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in honor of a Muslim holiday. All of the prisoners belong to factions that support the Palestinian Authority and its leadership. None are associated with Hamas, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Our joy will be complete only when all 11,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel will be released," Abbas said during celebrations to welcome the prisoners home.

There were no celebrations in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to Ynet, since none of the released prisoners were members of Hamas.

Recommended from JTA