Israel's Palestinian prisoner release, and more from the Slatest PM.

Slatest PM: Israel's Palestinian Prisoner Release

Slatest PM: Israel's Palestinian Prisoner Release

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Aug. 13 2013 4:56 PM

Slatest PM: Israel's Palestinian Prisoner Release

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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men argue with security during a demonstration on August 13, 2013 in Beit Shemesh, Israel. Around a hundred Jews protested against the construction of a new housing unit on the site which they belive will be located on ancient Jewish graves

Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Israel Frees 26: Associated Press: "Israel began the process of releasing 26 Palestinian prisoners late Tuesday, an initial gesture on the eve of renewed Mideast negotiations. Thousands of Palestinians have spent time in Israeli prisons since Israel's capture of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in 1967. They were jailed on charges ranging from throwing rocks to killing civilians in bombings and other attacks. The decision to release the men has stirred anguish in Israel, particularly among the relatives of those killed in attacks. Meanwhile celebrations were planned in the Palestinian territory, where Palestinians generally view the prisoners as heroes, regardless of their acts, arguing they made personal sacrifices in the struggle for independence."

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The Prisoners, Part One: ABC News: "The prisoners getting out tonight were all convicted of attacks before 1993. The longest serving prisoner, Fayez Mutawi al-Khur, was sentenced to life in prison back in 1985. Born in Gaza, al-Khur was convicted of murder and attempted murder of two Israelis in Gaza City in November 1985. During his prison sentence, he was also convicted of planning to kill the Israeli prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Shamir. Perhaps the best-known prisoner expected to be released tonight is Atiyeh Salem Abu Musa. Also from Gaza, Abu Musa was arrested in 1994 for murdering a Holocaust survivor, Issac Rotenburg, with an axe during the Jewish holiday of Passover."

The Prisoners, Part Two: Al Jazeera: "The 26 inmates are the first of a total of 104 that Israel has promised to free within a year as part of a deal secured after months of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has visited the region six times since March. But Palestinian prisoners rights groups say that, upon close inspection, the deal is not the concession the Israelis are touting it to be. Most of the detainees slated to be released on Tuesday have already served 20 years behind bars. Al Jazeera's Sue Turton, reporting from Ramallah, said that some of the prisoners had written to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and said that they do not want to be used as a bargaining chip in the peace talks."

A Balancing Act: New York Times: "Israel’s announcement this week that it was building more than 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank appeared to be part of a political balancing act to satisfy many Israelis before it released 26 Palestinian prisoners .... While Israel was not violating any formal agreement — Secretary of State John Kerry spent months persuading the Palestinians to talk without a settlement freeze or a promise of negotiations based on 1967 boundaries — analysts said the move had dealt a blow to the credibility of the fragile Palestinian leadership in the West Bank."

It's Tuesday, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at@JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @Slatest.

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Airline Delay: Reuters: "The U.S. Justice Department filed an unexpected lawsuit on Tuesday to block the merger of American Airlines parent AMR Corp and US Airways Group Inc, saying the deal would hurt consumers by leading to higher fares and fees. The $11 billion merger would create the world's largest airline, after four other major U.S. carriers combined in recent years. The antitrust lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and joined by several states including Arizona and Texas, drew concern from industry experts, support from consumer advocates and triggered a 6 percent sell-off in U.S. airline stocks. It also threw into question the reorganization plan of AMR Corp, which has been in bankruptcy since November 2011 and had structured its exit around merging with US Air."

Update From Orlando: Orlando Sentinel: "The father of a Chechen man fatally shot by an FBI agent in Orlando in May said his son was a conscientious and responsible young man who did not deserve to die and has retained two Tampa law firms to represent his family in possible civil action against the federal agency. Standing behind a poster board with photos of his son as a child and as a man, Abdulbaki Todashev — whose 27-year-old son Ibragim was shot May 22 while he was being questioned by the FBI and Massachusetts State Police — said his son 'was a very good boy, and he wanted to live.' Speaking through a translator, Abdulbaki Todashev said his son was an innocent victim who was shot just two days before his scheduled return to his family in Russia. He had obtained his green card and was making his first trip back to the province of his birth in many years after immigrating to the United States."

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Update From Boston: CBS News: "Two friends of surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have pleaded not guilty to disposing of evidence from his college dorm room. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov were arraigned Tuesday in federal court on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice.  Prosecutors say they tried to thwart the investigation of the deadly April explosions by throwing away fireworks and other items they found in Tsarnaev's dorm room the day before his capture. ... Lawyers for both men have said they did nothing wrong. ... If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison."

The Ultimate Mom Move: Washington Post: "Pulling the ultimate mom move, first lady Michelle Obama is joining forces with the nation’s biggest music stars to release a 19-track music album for her anti-childhood obesity campaign, Let’s Move. While she won’t sing on the album, Obama’s compilation will feature Jordin Sparks, Ashanti, DMC and E-Street Band’s guitarist Nils Lofgren. 'Songs for a Healthier America' will include pop, hip-hop and country songs targeting kids as young as grade school and as old as high school. It will feature tracks titled 'We Like Vegetables,' 'U R What You Eat,' and 'Veggie Luv.' The first track 'Everybody' was released for free download in June as was the music video featuring vocals by American Idol winner Sparks and a brief rap verse by Dr. Oz."

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