[JURIST] Israel [JURIST news archive] released 57 Palestinian detainees Monday in a gesture of good will toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile], just days before a planned peace conference sponsored by the US. Last week, the Israeli cabinet approved the release of 90 Palestinians [JURIST report], the remainder of whom currently remain in detention due to procedural delays.
Monday's prisoner release was the second in recent months. Israel released 255 Palestinian prisoners [JURIST report] in July after the government determined that the detainees were not directly involved [press release] in the killing or wounding of Israelis. Similar to the current release, the prisoners were released in an effort to strengthen the moderate Fatah against more-hardline Hamas, which violently took over the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounders] in June. Palestinian infighting between the Islamist-Hamas and the secular-Fatah has established two parallel Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza. AP has more. Haaretz has local coverage.