The resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend, was made possible after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to release dozens of Palestinian prisoners, a gesture he harshly condemned only six years ago.
On November 20, 2007, Ehud Olmert's government approved the release of 411 Palestinian prisoners ahead of the peace conference in Annapolis, which took place on the 28th and 29th of that same month.
- Op-ed: America remains reserved
- 'Cabinet to vote on release of terrorists'
- 'Peres-Abbas talks paved way for renewed talks'
Netanyahu, who served as opposition chairman at the time, expressed his staunch opposition to the release of prisoners before the commencement of peace negotiations and without receiving anything in return.
"The release of prisoners before the conference is not the path to peace, it is the path to terror," he said prior to the government's vote on the matter. "The Olmert government is repeating the mistakes of the (Ehud) Barak government at Camp David – then they gave everything, and all we received in return was terrorists."
Netanyahu continued to criticize the release of prisoners on the day the government approved the move and said he believes it will hurt Israel's security interests.
"The government decided today to free more terrorists, without even getting recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Israeli public wants a same peace, not a hallucinatory peace," he said at the time.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop