PA calls on Israel to release top Hamas figure

Abbas says arrest of Dweik designed to interrupt Fatah-Hamas reconciliation; PA demands release of 23 legislators.

By
January 22, 2012 19:33
1 minute read.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Sunday for the release of Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who was detained by the IDF last Thursday.

“I’m not convinced that Dweik had committed any crime,” Abbas told a Russian TV station.

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Abbas said he did not rule out the possibility that Dweik’s detention was designed to hinder efforts to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

“Frankly, this is an arbitrary detention and it’s completely illegal,” Abbas said, noting that Dweik, a top Hamas political figure in the West Bank, had been arrested a number of times in the past.

The PA, meanwhile, presented Israel with a letter demanding the release of Dweik and 23 Palestinian legislators, most of whom belong to Hamas.

A Palestinian official told AFP that chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat delivered the letter to Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho during their fourth meeting in Amman over the weekend.

The PA also demanded the release of some 130 Palestinians who were jailed before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

In addition, the PA is demanding the release of top Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms for his role in terror attacks against Israelis; and Ahmed Sa’dat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – the group behind the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.

Among the Hamas legislators who are held in Israeli prison are Mahmoud Ramahi; Ahmed Haj; Ayman Daraghmeh; Nayef Rajoub; Fadel Hamdan; Mohammed Tal; Omar Abdel Razek; Mohammed Abu Teir; Mohammed Natsheh; Mohammed Abu Gehisha; Hassan Yousef; Azzam Salhab; Hatem Kafisha; Azzam Salhab; Nizar Ramadan; and Samir Qady.


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