Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israel Publishes List of Palestinian Prisoners Set to be Released

Total of 104 prisoners to be freed as part of re-launch of MidEast diplomatic negotiations, one of whom murdered a Holocaust survivor

By: Sandra Mergulhão

Published: August 12th, 2013 in News » Israel

As part of a US-brokered deal to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli authorities have published the names of 26 Palestinian prisoners that are to be released tomorrow, causing conflicting reactions from citizens of both nations.

Israel is expected to free 104 of the longest-held Palestinian prisoners in four stages over approximately the next nine months.

The two countries are set to re-launch talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday, following a preparatory round two weeks ago in Washington. The MidEast diplomatic negotiations were on a five-year freeze.

“In the wake of the government’s decision to renew diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and to authorize a ministerial panel for prisoner releases for the duration of the negotiations, the ministerial panel met this evening,” read a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, released after 11 p.m. on Sunday.

While family members of many of the Israeli victims protested against the announcement of the list, Palestinian pro-prisoner activists did not feel the move lived up to expectations.


(Israelis protest against upcoming prisoner releases)

Most of the prisoners have already served about 20 years in prison and the ones set to be released have fairly short periods left in their sentences. A good number of them are responsible for killing Israelis or suspected Palestinian collaborators.

The release list includes Abu-Musa Salam Ali Atia of Fatah, who is responsible for the death of Holocaust survivor, Isaac Rotenberg, in 1994. Rotenberg had survived the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and fought alongside partisans in the Second World War before moving to Israel. Atia had attacked Rotenberg (aged 67) with an axe while he worked at a construction site.

Additionally, an older Israeli victim, 79-year-old Moris Eisenstatt, was killed by Fatah member Ra’ai Ibrahim Salam Ali in the same year. Salam Ali is also on the list of prisoners being released.

While most Israelis view those involved in the killing as terrorists, many Palestinians consider the prisoners as heroes, disputing that they made sacrifices in the fight for independence.

The identities of the prisoners were made public on the Israel Prisons Service website.

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