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Israel frees Palestinian prisoners

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Israel frees Palestinian prisoners
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The Palestinian prisoner release from Israeli jails is underway. 26 men are being ferried in a windowless bus to a West Bank crossing point, from where they will be transferred to a Palestinian vehicle for the final stage of their journey.

The release is the final condition for direct talks between the two sides to resume in Jericho tomorrow. Today the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has toiled to bring the pair to the talks table, reportedly had a “frank” telephone exchange with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the subject of new West Bank homes for Jewish settlers, which continue apace despite the resumption of talks.

The settlement question was the rock on which talks foundered three years ago, yet now the idea of land exchanges appears to be on the agenda as the two-state solution is pursued.