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Israel frees prominent Hamas leader after 2 years in jail
Published Monday 20/01/2014 (updated) 19/03/2014 13:13
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Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a prominent leader of the Hamas movement,
following his release from Israel's Ofer prison, near the West Bank
city of Ramallah on January 19, 2014.(AFP/Abbas Momani)
BEITUNIYA (AFP) -- Israel released a prominent leader from Hamas on Sunday after he spent more than two years in prison, Palestinian officials said.

Hassan Yousef, who is also a member of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Legislative Council, told reporters after his release he would work with Hamas rivals "Fatah and other Palestinian factions to achieve reconciliation."

Dozens of Hamas supporters received Yousef at Beituniya, near Ofer prison. Yousef had been arrested in Nov. 2011 for belonging to an illegal organization.

Longtime tensions between Hamas and Fatah boiled over in a week of fighting in 2007 that left the Islamist movement in control of Gaza and effectively divided the Palestinian territories in two.

The two sides have made repeated attempts to heal the rift, including an Egyptian-brokered deal in 2011 in which they agreed to make way for an interim government of independents to organize fresh elections throughout the territories.

The agreement has never been implemented.

Yousef, one of the founders of the Islamist movement, made headlines after his son Mossab said he had spied for Israel between 1997 and 2007.

Mossab relocated to the US, changed his name to Joseph and converted to Christianity.

Yousef disowned his son in a letter sent during a previous term in an Israeli prison.
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1 ) Mel / USA
20/01/2014 16:51
"...an illegal organization"by Israeli occupation &USG hegemonic definition! If those definitions are held equally,then Harpers JDL(labelled a terrorist cell by USA)should ALSO be arrested as they 'stroll' thru' Ramallah?And Ma'an! Point of note here,remember that the,"Islamist movement" was ELECTED because Palestinians were sick of Fatah playing new-Israeli-proxy,before Israel finished molding proxy PA.So,is Israel looking to replace Haniyeh with Yousef,in Hamas,as compliant puppet?

2 ) Outlier / USA
20/01/2014 19:50
1., Mel, you missed the boat here. The salient fact is he was released. In most other Middle East countries he would be dead.

3 ) Carson / Canada
21/01/2014 09:36
Mel, what does all that drivel have to do with the article ?? What do you think Hamas would do if they had a Israeli leader in their custody? Ya, that's what I thought

4 ) wayne / NZ
08/02/2014 23:18
Israel will have her day in court for the crimes it has committed. The leadership will be arrested and put in jail. The soldiers that have taken part will also be hunted like the nazis were after ww2. The settlers will also be arrested and the shoe will be on the other foot time is ticking on Israel, she will end up at the ICC and she will want the world to fell sorry for her. The world wont and like the basis she will pay a big price GO PALESTINE

5 ) Outlier / USA
10/02/2014 19:47
4, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride." Sorry Wayne, but it will never happen. While Israel should bring those settlers deserving it to justice, the rest is wishful thinking.

6 ) Rami / Palestine
23/02/2014 14:17
Its OK, you can relax everybody. He'll be re-arrested for violating his release when he walks to the corner store to buy a pack of cigarettes. You can be sure of that. Israel has never released any political prisoner without re-arresting him at some point. Hell most of the prisoners released during this new round of "talks" have already been re-arrested as have half of the ones traded for Gilad Shalit.
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