(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s media adviser)

The Ministerial Committee on the Release of Palestinian Prisoners, chaired by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, this morning (Tuesday), 17 July 2007, decided – pursuant to the government decision of 8 July 2007 – to recommend the release of 256 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel Prison Service facilities, according to the list that was tabled before the Committee. These prisoners meet the criteria that have been approved by the government regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners, and have no blood on their hands, in accordance with the checks made by the interministerial coordinating committee to select Palestinian prisoners eligible to have their sentences commuted, chaired by Justice Ministry Director-General Moshe Shilo.

A. The Ministerial Committee acknowledges Justice Ministry Dir.-Gen. Shilo’s statement that these prisoners have been examined by the committee and that they meet the criteria that were set by the Government in its decision of 27 July 2003.

B. 1. The prisoners will be released on Friday, 20 July 2007.

    2. The exact time for the release will be determined by Justice Ministry Dir.-Gen. Shilo in coordination with Prime Minister Olmert’s Military Secretary, Brig.-Gen. Meir Kalifi.

    3. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) will be responsible for releasing and dispersing the prisoners, assisted by the IDF, the ISA and the Justice Ministry.

    4. The preparatory process, which will include – inter alia – the publication of the names of the candidates for release on the IPS website, will conclude tomorrow (Wednesday), 18 July 2007.

    5. Prime Minister Olmert instructs that a prisoner designated for release, who refuses to sign a commitment form, will not be released.

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Notification in respect to the release of Palestinian prisoners (residents of Judea and Samaria)
(Communicated by the Israel Prison Service)
On July 17, 2007, the Ministerial Committee appointed on July 8, 2007 by the government of Israel decided to reduce the sentence of 256 Palestinian prisoners whose names appear on the attached list.

The government’s decision was reached following the meeting of the Coordinating Committee, headed by the Director-General of the Ministry of Justice which included representatives of all the relevant  authorities connected with the matter (Israel Security Agency, Israel Defense Forces, Israel Prison Service and Ministry of Justice) who examined the  suitability of the Palestinian Prisoners to the criteria fixed by  Government Decision No. 606 dating from 27 July 2003 and after the Committee Dealing with the Release of the Palestinian prisoners confirmed the lists individually .

In accordance with the decision of the government, the list does not include prisoners with "blood on their hands". Of the 256 prisoners, 61 have served more than two-thirds of their sentence, 93 have served over a half but less than two-thirds of their sentence, and 102 prisoners  have served over a third but less than half of their sentence .

It should be noted that the decision in respect to the prisoners release was conditional to the agreement of the relevant authorities and after considering any objections that were raised.

The prisoners to be released will arrive at Beituniya checkpoint on Friday morning (20 July) at 9:00 AM.