Palestinian prisoners call for mass hunger strike

Hamas leaders called for operatives to kidnap Israeli soldiers to force the release of Palestinian prisoners.

April 9, 2012 01:44
1 minute read.
Palestinians hold pictures of Hana Shalabi

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 prisoners.

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 release them.

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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 freed.”

“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 soldiers.

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.

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