After much political wrangling, the Israeli cabinet has agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners.
Thirteen ministers voted in favour of the release, seven voted against and two abstained.
It’s hoped the move, bitterly opposed by some sectors of Israeli society, will restart peace talks with the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Netanhayhu said: “There are moments in which tough decisions must be made for the good of the nation and this is one of those moments.”
Israelis opposed to the prisoner release demonstrated outside Netanhayhu’s office.
Meanwhile Palestinian protesters in Ramallah and Gaza showed their opposition to peace talks. They are against swapping any Palestinian land as part of a peace deal.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had demanded that the 104 prisoners, all of whom have been held for more than 20 years, be freed in order to resume negotiations.
It’s estimated that more than 4,500 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails
Talks in Washington are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.