Palestinians: Postponing prisoner release is Israeli blackmail

By YASSER OKBI
December 29, 2013 18:30

Fatah member: PA paid a heavy price for the release of the Palestinian prisoners; prisoners already moved to Ofer Prison.

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FREED PRISONER Atiya Salem Moussa returns to a hero's welcome in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

FREED PRISONER Atiya Salem Moussa 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian officials condemned Sunday the "Israeli blackmail" that led to the postponement of the release of 26 Palestinian security prisoners in one day.

The prisoners were scheduled to be released on Monday night at 1 a.m., but technical issues forced the postponement to Tuesday at 1 a.m.

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"The prisoner release is a right, and it is our people's right to see its sons back with their families," PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Karaka said.

Karka threatened to go to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in response to "the Israeli government's postponement of the release of the third group of prisoners, as agreed on in a deal mediated by the Americans."

He also accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government of "trying to blackmail the Palestinian Authority using the prisoners issue."

Speaking at a Ramallah rally for the release of the prisoners, Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud al-Aloul said the PA "paid a heavy price for the release of the Palestinian prisoners."

While Aloul did not elaborate on the aforementioned price, he stressed that "the prisoner release is a Palestinian right, since these are the freedom fighters of the Palestinian people."

The Shin Bet had already transferred the 26 prisoners expected to be released to Ofer Prison west of Ramallah, Karaka said.

The PA Prisoners Affairs minister said the prisoners will be released at 1 a.m. Tuesday after being identified and being medically examined by the Red Cross.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said that the number of Palestinian prisoners still left in Israeli prisoners who were jailed prior to the Oslo Accord is 32, instead of the 26 that were supposed to remain in prison according to the deal agreed on in July. Among them are 14 Israeli-Arabs and one prisoner from Jerusalem who has an Israeli ID.


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