The government on Sunday approved the request of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to free 250 Palestinian prisoners ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
This in keeping with the promise he made to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting two weeks ago.
The proposal did not pass without the vocal objection of several ministers. "This wholesale market of prisoners just delays the release of Gilad Shalit, and damages the social fabric," said Shas Chairman and Minster of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai.
Minister Jacob Edery also slammed the move prior to the cabinet meeting, saying Israel "has made enough gestures to the Palestinians without having received anything in return. You don't have to free terrorists so long as there is no progress in the effort to free Gilad Shalit or the peace talks."
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, like Yishai and Edery, also voted against releasing the prisoners. The actual release is expected to take place on December 8th.
The Prime Minister's Office notes this is a routine gesture, made every year at Eid el-Adha. They were confident cabinet would approve the proposal, despite the fact that Israel made a similar gesture two months ago with the release of 198 Palestinian prisoners, two of whom were involved in the murder of Israeli citizens.