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.
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.