Under a deal reached this week for a four-day pause in fighting in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government agreed to release 150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of 50 hostages held by Hamas.
The first batch of these prisoners were released Friday. A spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry said 39 Palestinians had been released from Israel’s Ofer prison in the West Bank shortly after Hamas began to release 13 hostages. However, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it facilitated the release of 33 prisoners.
A large crowd of Palestinians had gathered at the prison, resulting in some delays.
The release is part of a deal between the Israeli government and Hamas that was brokered by Qatar. The United States also played a large role in the talks over the course of the past six weeks.
After the deal was announced, Israel’s Justice Ministry published a list of 300 prisoners who are candidates for release.
This is what we know about the Palestinians on that list and their potential release.
What are the terms?
The pause in fighting was designed so that Hamas fighters could gather the first group of 50 hostages for release, likely in small clusters, to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Israel, in turn, would free 150 Palestinian prisoners. It is unclear how those individuals will be chosen from the list of 300 prisoners.
If Hamas releases more than 50 Israeli hostages, Israel could free more prisoners from the list, probably at the same ratio of three prisoners to each hostage. Israel has also said that for every 10 additional hostages released by Hamas, the pause in fighting would be extended by a day.
Aid deliveries to Gaza will also significantly increase following the release of hostages held by Hamas. Hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid and fuel are expected to cross into Gaza from Egypt once the release takes place.
Who are the people on the list of prisoners?
The majority of the people on the list are male teenagers arrested in the past two years. None of the men on the list are older than 18. The youngest boys included are 14. One of the 14-year-old prisoners was arrested on charges of throwing stones and making an explosive.
The list includes a number of people from Gaza, but most are from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where violence has raged in recent years amid settlement expansion.
There are about 30 women and girls on the list, ranging from teenagers to women in their 30s and 50s. The oldest woman on the list is Hanan Barghouti, 59, who was arrested in connection with suspicion of supporting terrorism. She was taken from her home near Ramallah during an Israeli raid earlier this year.
Of the Palestinians released initially on Friday, all were women or teenagers, according to the Associated Press.
What are the prisoners accused of?
The people on the list are accused of crimes that range from throwing stones to attempted murder, but it is unclear how serious many of the accusations are without more information on each case.
The entries included in the list summarize the accusations with little detail, and many of the people listed have not been formally sentenced, which could suggest that they have not stood trial. Rights groups have raised concerns about a lack of due process in Israel’s judicial system, especially in the country’s military courts.
Many of the women on the list are accused of carrying out stabbings, in cases that received significant media attention, partially because women make up such a small fraction of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
Nafoz Hamad, 15, the youngest woman on the list, was convicted of attempted murder for a stabbing in East Jerusalem that injured her neighbor. Another woman was arrested for allegedly attacking an Israeli soldier with a pair of scissors.
Who won’t Israel release?
The Israeli government has refused to release prisoners convicted of murder, but a number of people accused of attempted murder are listed.
Some people are listed as being members of Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but it is unclear how that affiliation is determined. One of the 14-year-old boys is listed as a member of Hamas.
Adam Taylor and Louisa Loveluck contributed reporting.