Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he will free 250 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, as a gesture to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He was speaking after a four-way summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which included King Adbullah of Jordan and was hosted by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. They had gone to the Red Sea coast to hear how Israel might support the moderate Fatah movement of President Abbas.
Olmert said the prisoner release is a display of goodwill to Abbas, adding that those to be released are Fatah members with “no blood on their hands”, and a commitment not to involve themselves again in terror. Earlier, Abbas had heard news from Israel that hundreds of millions of euros in Palestinian taxes would be released to his government, once Israel was sure that none of the money would reach the Islamists of Hamas.
Before the meeting, Olmert stressed the need for the arab world to see the four leaders expressing a genuine desire to build a peace process.