Israel has named 26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed this week under a deal enabling US-backed peace talks to resume.
However, Palestinians said the talks had been undermined by newly announced plans to expand Israeli settlements.
The prisoners are the first of a total of 104 Israel has decided in principle to free as part of a deal reached by US Secretary of State John Kerry to renew talks for Palestinian statehood.
14 of those going free will be deported or sent to Gaza , and 12 to the West Bank.
Two would have completed their terms in six months, and six over the next three years.
Some Israelis reacted angrily to the scheduled release on tomorrow or Wednesday of the long-term Palestinian prisoners.
Israel has a number of times freed Palestinians before they served out their time, but mostly in swaps for Israeli soldiers or their remains held by the Jewish state's enemies.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israel's announcement of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem "were to some degree expected."
He urged Israelis and Palestinians to move head with peace talks due to resume this week.
Mr Kerry said: "What this underscores is the importance of getting to the table, getting to the table quickly" and resolving disputes over settlements and other issues."
He added that he had spoken with Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is recovering from surgery.
Israel's housing minister yesterday approved plans for 1,200 new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as part of their state.