Netanyahu has already agreed to free the prisoners, but wanted cabinet approval to help overcome qualms among Israelis about freeing inmates convicted of involvement in lethal attacks, Israeli officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He said that the plan was to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, not before the talks start, but at stages as they progress.
"This is an incredibly difficult decision. It hurts the bereaved families, it hurts all of the Israeli people and it hurts me very much. It clashes with the most important principle, the principle of justice," Netanyahu stated.
Netanyahu said that "sometimes prime ministers are forced to make decisions that go against public opinion - when the issue is important for the country."
Netanyahu addressed the upcoming start of peace talks, saying that "in the next nine months we will determine if across from us is a Palestinian partner that desires a true end to the conflict as we do."Who are the additional terrorists? Well, whom did Bibi refuse to release last week? Israeli Arabs. Netanyahu (and all Israeli governments) did not want the 'Palestinians' claiming 'Israeli Arabs' as their own. Guess what.
It was revealed in the Knesset briefing that all of the prisoners to be released had blood on their hands and were serving life sentences.
Israel Radio reported on Saturday that Netanyahu decided to raise the number of prisoners that Israel will release from 82 to 104 after the Palestinians threatened that they would not attend the opening meeting of talks in Washington next week otherwise.
Some of the prisoners to be released were Israeli-Arab prisoners that in the past Israel had refused to free, according to the source.
The decision to release Israeli-Arab prisoners as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians contravenes Israeli policy not to allow the Palestinian Authority to intervene in Israeli-Arab affairs, the report stressed.Who among the cabinet members will have the junk to stand up to Netanyahu and vote no? If there are 10 ministers, I'll be shocked.
Likud ministers said Netanyahu was pressuring them to support the prisoner release. But Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz told The Jerusalem Post he intended to vote against it.
"I cannot vote to free terrorist murderers, harm bereaved families, and encourage terror," Katz said. "I made my view very clear a week ago, so there is no point in pressuring me."
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett announced that his party's ministers would vote against the prisoner release. A source close to a Yisrael Beytenu minister said the party's ministers would be permitted by their leader Avigdor Liberman to vote according to their conscience.Netanyahu has all the backbone of a pretzel soaked in warm water overnight.
What could go wrong?