Israel frees Palestinian prisoners, pushes settlement plan

Israel has freed 26 more Palestinians prisoners who were jailed for deadly attacks on Israeli civilians.
Monday\’s prison release is part of Israel\’s agreement to revive the long-stalled Mideast peace talks with the Palestinians.
Some of the Palestinians had been behind bars for as long as 28 years.
They usually get a hero\’s welcome when they return home to the West Bank and Gaza. But the releases infuriate many Israelis, including some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\’s Cabinet. They consider the ex-prisoners terrorists.
Monday was the third of four prisoner releases in which a total of 104 Palestinians will be freed.
It came as the State Department announced that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will propose a framework for final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians when he travels to the Middle East this week.
A spokeswoman gave no details of the framework other than saying it would address all core issues between the two sides.
Israel and the Palestinians resumed peace talks in July after a three-year break. Israel agreed to the prisoner release and the Palestinians dropped their demand for Israel to stop settlement construction before final status talks are held.
Kerry leaves for Jerusalem Wednesday and will proceed to Ramallah in the West Bank. The secretary has made a Middle East peace agreement a top foreign policy goal. He has made frequent trips to the region in the past year.
Source: VOA and agencies

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