TEL AVIV, December 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Israeli authorities have freed under amnesty a group of 26 Palestinian convicts on Tuesday. All of them spent from 19 to 28 in jail, according to Israeli prison administration. Five of them are Israeli Arabians, residents of Eastern Jerusalem. Israel’s authorities had to change its tough stance towards the possibility of amnesty for Eastern Jerusalem residents involved in terrorist activities.
Eighteen of those set free are residents of the West Bank of Jordan, another three are from the Gaza Strip. They were brought by buses of Israeli prison administration to the West Bank and to the Erez checkpoint on the border with Gaza. There they were transferred to Palestinian representatives. Eastern Jerusalem residents were set free in a pre-agreed undisclosed place.
Relatives of terrorist attacks victims filed a petition against the freeing of 26 Palestinians to the Supreme Justice Court of Israel, but it turned it down.
This is the third group out of 104 Palestinians, in whose regard the Israeli government July 28, 2013, made the decision on setting free as a goodwill gesture in order to advance peace talks. In the end of the same month, the first round of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed the first time since 2010 started in the building of US State Department. In August and December 2013, the first and second groups of Palestinians comprising 52 persons were set free.
Observers note that the third group of convicts was set free on the eve of the visit of US State Secretary John Kerry. The latter insists on the soonest advance of the peace process. This time he intends to offer Israeli and Palestinian authorities to conclude a framework agreement, which could be the basis for further final peace agreement between the parties. Kerry will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramalla on the West Bank of Jordan.