Palestinians in Ramallah hold pictures of prisoners 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday welcomed Israel’s decision to release Palestinian prisoners and vowed to continue working for the release of all inmates.
The PA said that Israel was releasing “political prisoners” who were imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed the decision, but said it came 14 years too late: “We will continue working for the release of all our political prisoners. The Israeli Cabinet decision is an overdue step towards the implementation of the Sharm Sheikh agreement of 1999, whereby Israel committed to release all the pre-Oslo prisoners.”
Erekat said that Sunday’s Cabinet decision includes all pre-Oslo “political prisoners that remain in Israeli prisons, including Palestinians from Israel.”
Erekat called on Israel to seize the opportunity made by US Secretary of State John Kerry towards the resumption of negotiations “in order to put an end to decades of occupation and exile, and to start a new stage of justice, freedom and peace for Israel, Palestine and the rest of the region.”
PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs, Issa Qaraqi, hailed the Israeli decision as a “big achievement that consolidates just peace in the region.”
Qaraqi said that Sunday’s decision was a “step toward releasing all Palestinian prisoners.”