The 26 were freed as a goodwill gesture by Israel to encourage U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.
Eleven of the freed from the West Bank were taken by bus to Bitunia checkpoint near Ramallah and the other 15 from Gaza were shuttled to Erez crossing point between Israel and Gaza.
Hundreds of family members of the prisoners gathered near the two destinations to receive the prisoners, holding their posters and Palestinian flags.
JERUSALEM, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Jerusalem Municipality approved the construction of 942 new housing units in Jewish settlements located in east Jerusalem, Israeli media reported Tuesday.
"We will continue issuing tenders for construction in Jerusalem and the settlements," a municipal official told the Times of Israel website. Full story
Palestinians committed to peace with Israel through talks: Abbas
RAMALLAH/GAZA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday the Palestinians are committed to the Middle East peace process with Israel through talks, although some say he should not join the second round of negotiations slated for Wednesday.
Abbas said so when meeting in Ramallah German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. According to state-run Wafa News Agency, Abbas said the Palestinians are committed to achieve a just and comprehensive peace through direct talks with Israel. Full story
Abbas not authorized to negotiate with Israel: Hamas
GAZA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip said on Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not authorized to negotiate peace with Israel.
Mahmoud Zahar, a high-ranking official in the Islamic movement, told a news conference in Gaza that resumption of the peace talks with Israel "contradicts with the Palestinian national consensus." Full story
Palestinians not that eager for negotiations: poll
RAMALLAH, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians are not very eager for peace talks with Israel, which resumed last month under a U.S. auspices, results of a public opinion poll showed Monday.
According to the poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based think tank Arab World For Research and Development, only 46 percent of the surveyed youths support returning to the negotiating table while 48 percent reject it. Full story