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Palestinians to raise prisoner release issue with international forums
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
10/12/2013
PA aims to win international support for the prisoners' release in order to put more pressure on Israel to free them.
 
The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank decided Tuesday to internationalize the case of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The government said after its weekly meeting in Ramallah that it decided to “raise the issue of sick prisoners held in occupation prisons, especially those suffering from serious diseases, with all international forums.”

The decision is aimed at winning international support for the case of the prisoners in order to create pressure on Israel to free them, the PA government explained.

The government also held Israel responsible for the lives and health of the inmates. It accused Israel of “violating international laws” regarding prisoners.

The government repeated its demand that the EU Parliament dispatch a commission of inquiry to look into the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners.

The new decision came following reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened to delay the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. The prisoners were supposed to be released later this month as part of a US-brokered agreement to persuade the PA leadership to agree to the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah condemned the talk about a possible delay in the release of the prisoners. The officials warned that failure to release the inmates would lead to the collapse of the peace talks.

Also Tuesday, representatives of Palestinian prisoners published a letter calling on Palestinians to protest against the US “threats.”

The prisoners said in their letter that they reject any attempt to use them as a bargaining chip or as a means of extortion to extract political concessions from the PA leadership.
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