Israel PM disappointed over prisoners demanded for release of Israeli soldier

[JURIST] The office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website; BBC profile] on Wednesday expressed disappointment over the long list of Palestinian prisoners [JURIST report] that Palestinian militants have demanded be freed in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit [Times backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Olmert and senior officials met Tuesday to discuss the list, which purportedly includes high-profile Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat [BBC profiles]. Saasat is the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [organization website], a radical group suspected of carrying out the 2001 assassination of an Israeli cabinet minister. Israel's Security Cabinet will discuss the list further this coming Sunday. Palestinian officials said President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] would meet with Olmert next week.

Shalit was captured in Gaza [JURIST report] last June, and his detention helped spark a 34-day conflict [JURIST news archive] in the region last summer. Palestinian militants have demanded the large-scale release of Palestinian prisoners from the beginning, but negotiations have not been successful to date. In November 2006, Olmert said that Israel was willing to release many Palestinian prisoners [JURIST report] in exchange for Shalit's freedom, including long-term Palestinian detainees. Israel says Shalit's release is a precondition to any serious peace conditions. AP has more.

 

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