Rice, Mofaz at Odds on Prisoner Release

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Israel's release Monday of 198 Palestinian prisoners, while Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz called it "a big mistake."

"There is no doubt that the prisoner exchange is very important to the Palestinians," Rice told reporters. "It's something that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] brings up each time we meet," she said.

"This is something that matters a lot to the Palestinians. It matters a lot to the Palestinian people. And it is obviously a sign of goodwill," the secretary of state said.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who hopes to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as chairman of the Kadima party, accused Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, also running in the Kadima primaries, of pushing for "the bad decision to release the Palestinian prisoners."

"Releasing the Palestinian prisoners while [captured Israel Defense Forces Corporal] Gilad Shalit is not yet with us creates very difficult feelings in me," Mofaz said.

Source: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post

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