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Israel Decides Not to Release Palestinian Prisoners Before Shalit

Palestinian hopes that Israel would release Palestinian prisoners this weekend have been rejected by the Israeli government. When Palestinian leader Mahmoud ‘Abbas met Israel’s premier Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem a week ago he requested a goodwill prisoner release to coincide with the Muslim holydays of ‘Id Al-A’dha. When Olmert put that request to his cabinet during the week, several high-ranking ministers turned down the plea, according to Israel Radio. Israel has traditionally pardoned some Muslim prisoners at festivals, but this time it was argued that cannot be the case while Hamas continues to hold captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was taken to Gaza half a year ago.