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Abbas says freeing of prisoners Palestinian priority
Published Thursday 04/04/2013 (updated) 06/04/2013 16:39
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President Mahmoud Abbas addresses a meeting in the West Bank
city of Ramallah on April 2, 2013 (AFP/Abbas Momani)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said the freeing of prisoners held by Israel was a "priority" for the leadership in the West Bank.

"The Palestinian leadership gives priority to the prisoners issue and ending their suffering," Abbas said in a speech to a meeting of his Fatah party in Ramallah.

"We cannot be silent about their staying behind bars... (we) have demanded the freeing of all prisoners, especially those arrested before the Oslo accords, and sick, child and women prisoners," he said.

"But the Israeli government, in its arrogance, doesn't care" about the detainees, he added.

The speech came after thousands of West Bank Palestinians lined the streets for the funeral of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who had served 10 years of a life sentence for attempted murder and died in an Israeli hospital after being diagnosed with throat cancer.

The Palestinian leadership has accused Israel of medical negligence, despite moves by the prison service to secure his early release on compassionate grounds.

Abbas said that in light of "the achievements in the UN" -- a reference to upgraded Palestinian status at the UN late last year that angered Israel -- the leadership would "go to the ends of the earth to protect our prisoners".

The Palestinian Authority head also slammed Israeli settlement building in Palestinian territories, in reference to a recent visit by US President Barack Obama to the region.

"Obama's visit to Palestine was positive. We presented our stance on the peace process... and explained the dangers to the two-state solution posed by continued settlement building."

Obama visited Israel and the West Bank in mid-March, with Secretary of State John Kerry then meeting separately with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas.

In a surprise move, the State Department announced Wednesday that Kerry would return to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories early next week to build on talks and try to restart a stalled peace process.

Peace talks have been stalled since September 2010, with Palestinians demanding Israel stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem before a resumption of negotiations, and Israel rejecting any pre-conditions to talks.
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
04/04/2013 12:23
The danger to the 2-state solution are almost all from the Palestinian side. Freeing convicted terrorists will only happen after a peace treaty is signed. Abbas is selling snake-oil to his people, and stoking the fires of war with his double-speak. The only way for Palestinian leaders to avoid war crimes trials at the ICC and life-sentences is to return to the negotiating table and sign a peace treaty for 2 states. Read our lips: no negotiations = prisoners stay in jail.

2 ) shirleyS / AUSTRALIA
04/04/2013 13:07
THERE WAS NO POSOTIVE OF OBAMA US DOES NOT SUPPORT PALESTINE STATE ABBASS IS A LIAR AND COLLABORATOR HE ALWAYS BACKS DOWN JUST LIKE IN 2011COULD HAVE GOT OBSERVER STATEBUT BACKED DOWN TO PLEASE US HE WAS PUSHED 2012 TO GO TO UNGA AND NOW TRYING TO MAKE AMENDS US GET US TO RECOGNIZE STATE OF PALESTINE WHY NOT IF WANT GENUINE PEACE WHY NO PRESSURE ON ISREAL DOES NOT RECOGNIZE SETTLEMENTS AS A PROBLEMWGY ABBASS REFUSE TO FORM GOV INDEPENDANTS ! SOMEONE CLOSE TO ARRAFATGOT HIM KILLED

3 ) @ Abbas & other Liars / USA
04/04/2013 14:47
- "The ISRAELi government DOES CARE about the detainees",
where food, water, bed, and much more are provided, BUT
- the Israeli government also cares about the Israeli citizens,
that would be murdered if such detainees were to be released.

4 ) Bill / USA
04/04/2013 19:08
Israel and Palestine cooridinate on security it is time for them to cooridante on justice. There should be a court system that both sides agree to. crime and punishment has to be Just. Both sides have citizens that violate the law against the others population and security. Once a joint commission and justice system is estabished the prisoner issues will disappear.

5 ) Outlier / USA
04/04/2013 19:16
Sit down and negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, and release will follow.

6 ) Fair / Fate
04/04/2013 21:24
Brian #1 - you are completely wrong: convicted terrorists should never be set free - they should rot and die in prison. They did not deserve anything better. Everybody who is talking about freeing convicted and imprisoned murderous terrorists is terror sympathizer and should be treated accordingly.

7 ) zion / zion
05/04/2013 04:57
The only terrorist is the Zionist. Zionist have changed Judaism to a hateful racist people. You would think after Hitler Jews would be compassionate people but they learned from their father Hitler. Zionism is the birth child of Nazism. Don't worry my fellow Zionist in 20 years the Jew will be the minority. Its only a matter of time.
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