Islamic Jihad: Prisoners are not a 'game' for negotiations
Published Thursday 17/04/2014 (updated) 19/04/2014 09:41
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said in a statement on Thursday to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day that they would not "abandon" any prisoners and that they refused to see them as "numbers" to be traded in negotiations.
"Treating prisoners as numbers will not continue, especially under the conditions of suffering and injustice that they are going through" in Israeli prison, the statement said.
"We view prisoners from Jerusalem and 1948 occupied Palestine as our people and it is unacceptable religiously, ethically or nationally to abandon them," the statement said.
The statement added that the group refuses to deal with the issue of prisoners as a "game" for negotiations, in a jab at the Palestine Liberation Organization's inclusion of the release of long-held prisoners as a condition of ongoing peace negotiations with Israel.
The statement come as hundreds of Palestinians marked the annual Palestinian Prisoners Day across the country, with marches in major cities in solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.
Over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967, with 5,224 currently being held in Israeli detention centers, according to the PLO.
Since 1967, around 20 percent of the total Palestinian population and 40 percent of all males have been held as prisoners in Israeli jails.