Mashaal with Abbas 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian factions are set to release almost all their political
detainees by the end of the year in
accordance with the reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo on Thursday, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency
“By the end of the year, all political
detainees will be released except those who wish to remain in custody
for special reasons related to their security both in the West Bank and
in the Gaza Strip,” Ma'an quoted Munib al-Masri, who participated in the
Palestinian reconciliation talks, as saying.
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security concerns pertaining to detainees who would remain in custody,
he said, include both targeted killing by Israel and attacks by
competing Palestinian factions before the reconciliation agreement goes
Thursday’s agreement also paved the way for the establishment of a
provisional PLO leadership that would include, for the first time,
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups. These groups will later become
incorporated into various PLO institutions, especially the Palestine
National Council, the organization’s parliament-inexile.
The council is the legislative body of the PLO and elects its executive committee, the organization’s main decision-making body.
At Thursday’s discussions in Cairo, the Palestinian leaders agreed to
form a committee headed by council Speaker Salim Zanoun to discuss ways
of “activating and reconstructing” the PLO so that Hamas and other
groups would be incorporated into the organization, Fatah and Hamas
The committee will hold its first meeting in Amman on January 15.
Following the meeting of the factions, Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree to establish a new
Palestinian Elections Commission that would prepare for presidential and
parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.