The Israeli Prison Service
(IPS) have started preparations ahead of the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, estimated to take place on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We've released hundreds of terrorists before, we're experienced," an IPS source said. The prisoners have already been transferred to Ayalon Prison in Ramla.
The IPS began its preparations promptly after receiving the list okayed by a ministerial committee on Monday night. The 26 prisoners have been located in their respective prisons.
On Monday, the IPS conducted discussions on the process of release, but a release schedule is yet to be decided.
According to IPS estimations, the release will take place 48 hours after the list's publication, meaning on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing time for citizens to petition the High Court against the release.
An IPS source said that the prisoners will be concentrated in two prisons, probably in southern Israel, and will be securely taken to the Beitunia Crossing where they will be released into the West Bank.
Another convoy will depart for the Erez Crossing, where 14 prisoners will be released into the Gaza Strip.
Prior to their release the prisoners will go through a process of identification, medical exam and a talk with the prison's commander and staff.
It is still unclear whether the prisoners will be required to sign a pledge vowing not to pursue attacks against Israel, as has been undertaken before.
"It's not the first time we've release security detainees. We've released hundreds before and we're experienced," an IPS source said.
"This time it's only 26 prisoners so preparations do not demand increased staff and vehicles as before. We believe the release will be conducted according to plans and according to the schedule, to be determined."
Some disappointment was registered in the Palestinian Authority following the publication of the prisoner list.
Several elements in the PA said the Ramallah administration expected the list to include two or three prisoners well known to the Palestinian
"They gave us numbers – not names," a Palestinian source said in disappointment.
He explained that if Israel
would have included a small number of prisoners who became Palestinian symbols, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
would have had greater public support for the resumption of peace talks – enough support to combat internal criticism against the return to the negotiation table.
"Abbas received two blows. On Saturday morning when he found out of the settlement construction bids and at night when he saw the list of prisoners that few even know who they are," said the source.
According to him, the fact that most of the prisoners will be released into the Gaza Strip
did not boost morale in the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority officials will wait for the prisoners at the Beitunia Crossing near Ramallah, from where they will be taken in a special convoy to the Moqataa, where a formal reception will be held in their honor with Abbas and PLO top officials.
Abbas also instructed the West Bank district governors to hold formal receptions for the prisoners as they arrive in their homes.
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