Oct. 29 - Anger and joy over planned Palestinian prisoner release by Israel under U.S. sponsored peace talks. Paul Chapman reports.
Plans to release some Palestinian prisoners have outraged Israeli friends and relatives of people killed or wounded in Palestinian attacks. Hundreds gathered outside Ofer Prison in the West Bank to protest. Israel has named 26 Palestinian prisoners for release under U.S.-sponsored peace talks. The protesters say it's outrageous. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MEIR INDOR, CHAIRMAN OF ALMAGOR TERROR ASSOCIATION, SAYING: "The message is not only to our government, it's also to the European, to the government of the United States - they are asking us what they do not do there...they are asking us to release terrorists." (SOUNDBITE)(English) LIZI HANAERY, PROTESTER, SAYING: "Our government betrayed us. It is a betrayal to release such murderers." Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev admits it's no easy decision. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN MARK REGEV SAYING: "To release the murderers of innocent civilians is a painful and difficult decision which we are taking only because we want to give the peace talks with the Palestinians a chance." Among the families of the Palestinians due for release there is jubilation. The prisoners are regarded as heroes in the struggle for Palestinian statehood. The mother of Najeh Muqbel who was jailed for killing an Israeli lawyer in 1990 says she never expected to see him free again. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) SHAMA MEKBEL, MOTHER OF PALESTINIAN PRISONER NAJEH MUQBUL, SAYING: "This is a miracle, no-one thought he would be released while we were still alive. Every time we visited him in prison we would fall ill, we'd be ill between each visit but thanks to God this is an accomplishment, it's like a dream." Not all Palestinians are happy. The Islamist group Hamas says the prisoner release was a cover for Israel's continued settlement expansion.