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Abbas meets prisoners released in Schalit deal

December 21, 2011 19:12

Netanyahu's office is "disappointed" by the "unfortunate decision" to meet woman involved in murder of Israeli.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas_311. (photo credit:Reuters)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ankara on Tuesday night with 11 prisoners who were released in the recent prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.

One of them was Amneh Muna, the woman who lured 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to Ramallah, where he was murdered in 2001.

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41 Palestinian prisoners exiled to foreign states
550 Palestinians released completing Schalit deal

Muna, who was originally supposed to be deported to the Gaza Strip, refused to go there out of fear of being harassed by Hamas. Some Hamas inmates who were with her in prison accused her of assaulting and intimidating them.

Abbas told the prisoners that they were at the top of PA leadership’s list of priorities. He said that the issue was being raised in all meetings between PA officials and world leaders.

Abbas, according to a statement released by his office, “praised the prisoners for remaining steadfast in the face of Israeli wardens’ mastery.” He also briefed the released prisoners on the latest developments in the region.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said the Prime Minister’s Office was “disappointed” by Abbas’s “unfortunate decision” to meet Muna.

“Instead of promoting peace and reconciliation, the Palestinian leadership seems to be putting extremist murderers up on a pedestal,” he said. “This raises serious questions as to their commitment and as to their desire to end the conflict.”

A senior aide to Abbas rejected Israeli criticism of the meeting between Abbas and the former prisoners and accused the Israeli government of searching for excuses to sabotage the peace process.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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