Prisoner dispute casts shadow over summit

Friday, February 04, 2005 | 
Palestinian officials have rejected Israel's planned release of 900 Palestinian prisoners, saying it's not enough. "It is not what we want. It is not what our people want,” said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. "We want them to release those who spent more than 20 years in jail." In fact, the Palestinians want all 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails to be freed, but Israel says terrorists with blood on their hands won't be released. Israel sees the release of 900 prisoners as a goodwill gesture, but it's having the opposite effect, raising concern that next week's summit in Egypt between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas could fail.

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