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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

399 Prisoners to be released tomorrow afternoon, on the eve of Tisha b'Av
This is not required by the road map. No one seems to enjoy it as a gesture of goodwill - the Palestinians complain that it's not enough and the western media is completely ho-hum on it. It's totally crazy to me that Israeli criminals stay in jail and the Palestinian ones get out. It's totally crazy in light of the fact that only a day or two ago a woman and three of her children, traveling in a car, were shot by terrorists.

Ah, here it is. JPost has the answer: Sharon said releasing the prisoners is a necessary step to support the cease-fire and assuage Palestinian public opinion in an effort to shore up Abbas. The release of prisoners is important to the Palestinians, Sharon said.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that further prisoner releases have been put on hold "to see how the Palestinians behave." Mofaz said he has instructed the IDF to prepare for an eruption of violence, and that the likely date for this would be late September. This would mark three years of the so-called Aksa intifada and the end of the 90-day cease-fire, he said.