October 28, 2013 – New York – Israel’s release of 26 Palestinian prisoners this week is yet another confirmation of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s relentless dedication to pursuing a peace accord.
“Releasing Palestinians convicted of murder and attempted murder is extraordinarily painful for the Israeli people, especially when nothing tangible has yet come from the Palestinian Authority,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “But in the decades-long quest for an agreement, Israel has shown time and again the depths of its yearning for peace -- and the lengths to which it will go in search of a durable deal.”
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed in August, three years after the Palestinian Authority walked away from them. In order to help get the negotiations back on track, Israel said it would free 104 Palestinian prisoners in stages. The first 26 were released in August.
“Despite opposition among many Israelis to the release of prisoners, the government is going ahead to show yet again its good-faith commitment,” Harris added. “It would be hard to imagine another government, even the U.S., agreeing to such a release of prisoners with blood on their hands, some of whom may be tempted to resume their terrorist activities. Israel deserves appreciation and admiration for the extraordinary risks it is willing to take to keep alive the hope of an accord. Will a similar commitment, at long last, be shown by the Palestinian side?”