Israel to Release 250 Fatah Prisoners

PM Olmert makes pledge at summit with Arab leaders
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jun 25, 2007 4:58 PM CDT
In this photo released by Israel's Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, shakes hands with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak prior to their meeting in the Red Sea resort city...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Israel plans to free 250 Fatah members as part of an international push to shore up Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Washington Post reports.The announcement came at the close of a summit at a Red Sea resort, where Mideast leaders gathered to talk about dealing with Hamas in the wake of the Gaza takeover.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said he would ask his Cabinet to free Fatah prisoners  "who do not have blood on their hands," and on the condition that "they sign a commitment not to return to violence." International leaders hope such conciliatory moves will lay the groundwork for renewed Mideast peace negotiations, though the Fatah-Hamas split complicates matters.