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  Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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Israel will hand over on Monday a total of 198 Palestinian
Israel will hand over on Monday a total of 198 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a visit by Condoleezza Rice, a spokesperson for the prison service said.

The early release, approved by Israel on August 17, includes two Palestinians, who have served around 30 years in jail, convicted for their role in deadly attacks on Israelis. They are due to be handed over to the Palestinian authorities through the Beituniya checkpoint.

The latest move comes just before the U.S. Secretary of State is due to arrive in the region later Monday to try and push along Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The prisoner release also comes ahead of the Muslim festival Ramadan at the end of the month.

Israel is currently holding some 11,000 Palestinians in its prisons, including women and children, and the release of some of them is expected to bolster Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and strengthen the position of moderates in the Palestinian leadership.

Israel and the Palestinian National Authority pledged at last November's U.S.-sponsored meeting in Annapolis to resume peace talks, draft a settlement plan by late 2008 and come to terms on the form of a future independent Palestinian state. However their talks have so far made little tangible progress.


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