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Palestinians will not be freed, Israeli sources say

Palestinians will not be freed, Israeli sources say

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not plan to free Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas for a Muslim holiday, Israeli political sources said yesterday.
Following his first formal meeting with Abbas on December 23, Olmert had suggested such a release could happen, even before militants in Gaza free a captured Israeli soldier.
The sources said that Olmert did not have sufficient support in his cabinet for the move ahead of the holiday, which starts today, and had also faced criticism from the family of the soldier held in Gaza, Corporal Gilad Shalit.
"It does not look as though there will be anything before Shalit is out," said one political source.
An official in the prime minister's office said no decision had been taken yet on when prisoners might be freed.
At this stage, there had been no expectation that a large number of the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel might be released.
But even a symbolic release could help to bolster Abbas, a moderate, who has been caught in a power struggle with the Hamas Islamist government that took office after defeating his Fatah movement in January elections.
The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha runs from today to Wednesday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Updated : 2021-07-26 03:44 GMT+08:00