Palestinian protesters hold pictures of Hana Shalabi 370 R .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As Palestinians prepare to mark Prisoners’ Day on April 17, Hamas leaders called
for operatives to kidnap Israeli soldiers to force the release of Palestinian
Meanwhile, leaders of the Palestinian prisoners said they are
planning an open-ended hunger strike as of April 17 to put pressure on Israel to
The hunger strike will be held under the slogan, “We will
live in dignity.” So far, prisoners belonging to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have declared their intention to
participate in the hunger strike.
The only way to free Palestinian
prisoners from Israeli prisons is by abducting IDF soldiers, Hamas leader Khaled
Mashaal told a conference in Qatar Friday night.
Mashaal, who was a key
speaker at the conference on Jerusalem, said that the issue of the Palestinian
prisoners would remain at the top of Hamas’s agenda “until they are
“If the [Israeli] enemy has not learned, we are prepared to give
them practical lessons,” Mashaal said, referring to the possibility of
kidnapping IDF soldiers. “The only way to free the prisoners is by exchanging
them for their [Israel’s] prisoners and leaders.”
Mashaal told the
conference, which as organized by Islamic organizations from different
countries, that Jerusalem would be “restored only through the rifle and
resistance.” He accused Israel of working toward changing the history of
Jerusalem. But, he cautioned, “it won’t be too long before Jerusalem returns to
be an Arab and Islamic city.”
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas Minister for
Prisoner Affairs Atallah Abu al-Sabah urged armed Palestinian groups to resume
their efforts to kidnap IDF soldiers as a way of securing the release of
Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
“The Zionists who assault our
prisoners don’t deserve to live in security,” al-Sabah said during a rally in
solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Gaza City.
Another Hamas leader
in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Bahr, also joined the call for kidnapping IDF
Bahr appealed to various armed groups in the Gaza Strip to form
a unified committee to plan and carry out the abductions in order to secure the
release of Palestinian prisoners.
Bahr also criticized the Palestinian
Authority security forces in the West Bank for handing back Israeli citizens who
entered PA-controlled territories.