Freed prisoners welcomed by fireworks and loud patriotic songs

West Bank: Huge anger has been sparked after Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel have been enjoying a heroes welcome on their return to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The 26 inmates formed part of a second wave limited amnesty to revive long stalled statehood talks. Fireworks were let off and loud patriotic songs played as hundreds of relatives and well-wishers turned out to greet prisoners who were convicted of killing Israelis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s step to free these prisoners and plans further to build 3,500 more homes for Jewish settlers was seen as a way to placate hardliners who criticized him.
The Israeli leader issued instructions to market 1,500 settler homes and pursue plans for a further 2,000, an official in Netanyahu’s office said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Israel’s release of the prisoners, but condemned the settlement activity as “contrary to international law and constitutes an obstacle to peace,” a statement from his office said.
This policy is destructive for the peace process, said Nabil Abu Rdeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian PM Abbas.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said: We were very disappointed with the reaction in Ramallah, we saw them greeting with celebration the return of these convicted murderers, people who’ve killed innocent civilians, innocent Israelis, and we think the Palestinian Authority should be condemning terrorism, not celebrating terrorism.
Israel said the prisoner release will not affect its plan to build 1,500 new Jewish settlements in Ramat Shlomo in an area of the occupied West Bank that Israel considers part of Jerusalem.
But the Palestinian prime minister said such expansions threaten to end any chance of reaching a two-state solution.
According to all UN resolutions, all the settlements are illegal and they will stay illegal. We are worried and concerned that if Israel continues with this expansion of settlement this might kill the two states vision which we would like to see on this land.
The prisoner release has also opened rifts in the Israeli government with supporters of a pro-settler coalition partner calling on the prime minister to cancel the amnesty.