Gaza, ALRAY - (Israel) is close to officially approve the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners detained before Oslo Accords, Palestinian sources said.
The Israeli authorities have already agreed to release 104 prisoners as part of an agreement to resume peace talks with PA. Twenty-six of them were freed last month.
The second phase is scheduled to take place late October. The fourth and final phase are expected to begin on March 28th.
In early September, Mahmoud Abbas said in a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in Ramallah that he has agreed not to turn to international organizations during the negotiations in return for the release of the 104 prisoners detained prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords.
"I consider the issue of the UN to be very important, but the case of the prisoners is worthy of sacrifice," he said. "We have prepared 63 requests to join 63 UN agencies and conventions, but I said the issue of the prisoners is now more significant."
Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs met recently with the families of the 104 prisoners and promised them that they would be released regardless of whether any progress is made in the peace talks. He said the prisoners would be released to Gaza and the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to allow limited quantities of building materials for use by the private sector into the blockaded Gaza Strip starting from Sunday.
The quantities allowed in per day would be 1,600 tons of gravel, 800 tons of cement and 400 tons of iron.
A Palestinian official in Gaza said that allowing building materials into Gaza was a positive development, but insufficient.
"It's a positive step, but Gaza needs 6,000 tons of gravel, 4,000 of cement and 1,500 of iron per day," deputy economy minister Hatem Oweida said.