- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Israel on Wednesday set free 26 Palestinian prisoners, its next step in a promised round of inmate releases aimed at jump-starting peace talks.

This is the second of four schedule prisoner releases, The Associated Press reported. And it doesn’t come without its detractors.

The Gaza Strip may have been celebrating, seeing the men as hero fighters. But many in Israel were in tears, viewing the men who were let go as hard-core terrorists who’ve committed egregious crimes.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in an Israeli TV report that he felt compassion for the families of the prisoners’ victims, but that their release came as “a responsibility to guide the state of Israel according to a long-term strategy.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry actually brokered the prisoner release deal, opening doors to peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians that had been on hiatus since 2008, AP reported. A total of 104 prisoners are supposed to be sent back to their West Bank and Gaza Strip homes in the next few months, as part of the agreement.

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