(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Media Adviser today (Monday), 1 October 2007, has released the following statements:

"We would like to clarify that President Shimon Peres this evening (Monday), 1 October 2007, signed orders commuting the sentences of approximately 30 security prisoners from the Gaza Strip, who have no blood on their hands. This is in wake of the government decision to release them as a gesture to Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen and after the political leadership considered all aspects of their release. The Israel Prison Service will carry out the releases tomorrow morning.”

“We would like to clarify that the decision to release Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen was taken by the government and the Ministerial Committee on Prisoner Affairs. The preparation of the lists and the releases was carried out in the context of staff work in which all relevant security and legal bodies. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the government and the aforesaid committee approved the decision after taking into account all relevant security and diplomatic aspects. The positions of the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister on this issue are identical and coordinated."