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Israel set to release 250 Palestinian prisoners

[JURIST] A spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official profile] Monday confirmed the impending Israeli release of 250 Palestinian prisoners belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement [BBC backgrounder] and other minor factions. The release, approved by the Israeli cabinet [JURIST report] last Sunday and expected to take place Friday, is an effort to strengthen the moderate Fatah against the more-hardline Hamas [BBC backgrounder], which violently took over the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder] in June.

Palestinian infighting between the Islamist-Hamas and the secular-Fatah has established two parallel Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas, which was elected as the ruling party [JURIST report] of the Palestinian Authority in early 2006, has refused to distance itself from terrorism or recognize Israel's right to exist as a nation-state. As a result, it has been increasingly ostracized by the United States, the European Union, and Israel. AP has more.

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