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Abbas says no peace deal unless all prisoners freed

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Palestinian prisonersThere will be no permanent peace deal with Israel until all Palestinian prisoners are set free, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said early Tuesday.

"I promise you, there will be no permanent agreement [with Israel] until all prisoners are set free," Abbas told a reception in Ramallah early Tuesday for the third batch of prisoners released by Israel.

In the nine-month framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that resumed in July, Israel agreed to release a 104 prisoners held for offenses committed prior to the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. So far 78 have been released.

Early Tuesday, Israel released 26 prisoners: 18 to the West Bank, five to East Jerusalem and three to the Gaza Strip.

The third prisoner release was met with dismay in Israel and jubilation by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli families of terror victims demonstrated late Monday outside the East Jerusalem home of one of the prisoners. Earlier, an Israeli court rejected a petition filed by the families of Israeli terror victims to prevent the prisoners from being freed.

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