Israeli intelligence services advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release dozens of Palestinians detained before the Oslo Accords, Israeli media reported Wednesday. The Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported that security services advised Netanyahu that the prisoners detained before 1993 did not pose a security risk to Israel. Some 123 Palestinians have been detained in Israel for over 20 years. According to the report, US Secretary of State John Kerry unsuccessfully pressured Netanyahu to release some of the detainees during talks earlier this week.On Sunday, President Mahmoud Abbas told Kerry that releasing prisoners was a “top priority” for resuming talks with Israel.
“President Abbas made a passionate argument to me about the prisoners and I think the government of Israel has a full understanding of the potency of that issue,” Kerry said.
Maariv reported that Netanyahu’s office denied reports prisoners would be released before negotiations resumed.