Busloads of Palestinians set free from Israeli jails have been welcomed home by jubilant crowds. (photo, from aljazeera.net)
More than 220 Palestinians were released by Israel, which said it was a goodwill gesture towards Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Most of those released are linked to Mr Abbas’s Fatah faction, which is dominant in the West Bank.
In August, there was a similar release of 200 Palestinians, but Israeli jails still hold about 11,000. More than 550 of them are in administrative detention, meaning that they are held without charge or trial.
Among the prisoners are more than 40 members of the Palestinian parliament, most representing the militant movement Hamas.
Ashraf al-Ajrami, Palestinian prisoners minister, said that even though he welcomed the release of prisoners, Israel was acting unilaterally and ignoring Palestinian demands.
“The Israelis decided to release these prisoners without any negotiation or any connection with the Palestinian side.”
“We demanded to release the Palestinians who served many years in the Israeli jails and also the children, the women and the political leaders”, Mr Ajrami said.