It is true that Israel has made a significant gesture in advance of the peace
talks, even if most of those prisoners to be released have served more than
20 years in jail already and are at their age unlikely to do any further
harm (“Israelis Need A Gesture, Too,” Editorial, Aug. 2).

But what is perhaps more significant is what Israel has failed to do: either adopt a settlement freeze during the negotiations or agree to the base
line of the 1967 frontiers in discussing new boundaries between the future
two states. That Israel preferred to release prisoners rather than do either
of these is what really “undermines confidence” that the talks will succeed, 
rather than anything [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas might say.