Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners this week, in keeping with its commitment to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prior to the current round of peace talks.
The release was a grudging and bad-tempered affair, accompanied by a mini-revolt in the cabinet, right-wing protests and a knee-jerk announcement, only hours after the release, that Israel would renew construction in the occupied territories.
The low-key reception that the released prisoners received on their return to the West Bank was also indicative of the general gloom and pessimism on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. The release was no harbinger of peace; everyone understands that it was solely the result of diplomatic expediency, rather than an indication of progress towards an end to the occupation. Continue reading