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Israeli parliament approves release of 250 Palestinian prisoners
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08:52, December 08, 2008

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Israeli Knesset (parliament) approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha which falls on Monday, Israel Radio reported Sunday.

The action followed the Israeli cabinet's approval of the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners last Sunday as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of Eid al-Adha.

The move was requested by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who promised to set free these Palestinian prisoners during his November meeting in Jerusalem with Abbas.

However, Palestinian sources said on Saturday that Israel has called off Olmert's promise, saying that the Palestinian National Authority had got a message from the caretaker Israeli government, which says "huge pressure was put on Olmert and forced him to review his promise" over the prisoners release.

According to the message, the internal political situation in Israel, which will witness general elections in early February, also made Olmert unable to resist the pressures.

Israel currently holds more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails.


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