Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to place the issue of
Palestinian prisoners held in Israel at the top of his agenda during the planned
meeting with US President Barack Obama, a PA official in Ramallah said
The official’s announcement came as families of Palestinian
prisoners stepped up their protests in the West Bank, staging demonstrations and
rallies calling on Abbas not to resume the peace talks unless Israel released
The official said that Abbas would ask Obama to put pressure
on Israel to release scores of prisoners, especially those who were imprisoned
before the signing of the Oslo Accords, in order to pave the way for the
resumption of the peace talks.
“The issue of the prisoners will be the
No. 1 issue during the talks with President Obama,” the official
“President Abbas will also demand the release of prisoners who have
been on hunger strike for the past few months.”
The issue of settlements,
according to the PA official, will occupy second place on Abbas’s
Abbas and the PA leadership have recently come under increased
pressure to act on the issue of Palestinian prisoners.
hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in several West Bank cities, including
Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and Bethlehem in solidarity with the
The demonstrators called on Abbas to refrain from returning to
the negotiating table unless Israel released Palestinian prisoners. Some of the
protests also criticized the PA leadership for failing to do enough to secure
the release of prisoners.