Abbas wants release of 100 prisoners

255 Fatah men already discharged Friday; Abbas says Schalit is Hamas's affair.

Abbas 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Abbas 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday asked Israel to release 100 Fatah prisoners serving their terms in Israeli penitentiaries, Army Radio reported. Last Friday Israel released 255 prisoners after they signed a form in which they promised not to engage in terrorist activities following their release, and underwent a special identification process to confirm that they were, in fact, the same people who appeared on the release list. The additional prisoners, all former residents of the Gaza Strip, would theoretically bolster Fatah's presence in the Strip, and would also cause Hamas to tone down its demands in negotiations for the release of captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit. Abbas also said he had no influence in the Gilad Schalit affair, placing the issue squarely in the hands of Hamas, Israel Radio reported. In a meeting with Meretz Chairman MK Yossi Beilin, Abbas said that he wished to arrive at an agreement with Israel over the West Bank, but not over Gaza. He also made it clear that he will not run for reelection to the PA chairmanship when his tenure runs out in approximately a year and a half. AP contributed to this report