Early Wednesday, Israel released 26 long-time Palestinian prisoners in the second of a four-part deal with the Palestinian Authority. The current peace talks could not begin, according to the PA, unless they saw prisoners released.
Twenty-one of the inmates had been convicted of killing Israelis and were released to go home to the West Bank. The remaining five were freed to the Gaza Strip. Approximately 2,000 Palestinians gathered and celebrated the released on Tuesday. Crowds waved PLO flags, while others carried signs with pictures of the convicted murderers, cheering as if they were heroes.
"An agreement will never be signed without freeing all prisoners," Palestinian news agency Ma'an quoted Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qarage as saying. He also said, "We congratulate and greet our brothers who arrived from behind bars to the world of freedom."
The third group of prisoners is set to be released in December/January and another in March/April.
At the beginning of talks, in order to begin peace talks, Israel was given two choices of "goodwill gestures..." either freeze settlement construction or release prisoners.
Before peace talks begin, Israel will have released 106 terrorists. What have Palestinians given as their "goodwill gesture?"