World

Israel prepares to free Palestinian prisoners as part of US peace efforts

Palestinian Awad Kmail holds a picture of his son Ahmad at his home in the West Bank village of Kabatyeh near Jenin, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. Kmail is one of the 26 Palestinian prisoners who were convicted in connection to the killing of Israelis, that Israel announced to release this week. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

Palestinian Awad Kmail holds a picture of his son Ahmad at his home in the West Bank village of Kabatyeh near Jenin, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. Kmail is one of the 26 Palestinian prisoners who were convicted in connection to the killing of Israelis, that Israel announced to release this week. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)  (The Associated Press)

Israel and the Palestinians are gearing up for the expected release by Israel of 26 of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners.

Israel has agreed to release the men, who were all convicted in deadly attacks of Israelis, as part of a U.S.-brokered package to restart peace talks. The release is expected late Monday or early Tuesday.

The move has caused an uproar in Israel, where many object to freeing convicted killers. A group of victims' families asked Israel's Supreme Court on Monday to block the release.

In an apparent attempt to blunt the criticism, Netanyahu is expected to approve plans to build 1,400 new homes in Jewish settlements in the coming days. The Palestinians say such construction undermines peace efforts.