Release Prisoners Or No Peace, Says Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the release by Israel of 198 prisoners but vowed there could be no peace until all those held in Israel jails are sent home. “There will be no peace without the release of all Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. We will not rest until the prisoners are freed and the jails are empty.” He cited the example of
Ahmed Saadat, who helped organize the killing of Israel Tourist Minister Rehavam Ze’evi who he termed “our brother.” Palestinian authorities regard the release of prisoners, regardless of their crimes, as an essential component of any peace agreement. Of course, from the Israel perspective, it is difficult to release individuals who committed murder of innocent civilians.

Israel courts now confront an unusual situation in which an individual was convicted of a crime and is being released due to political factors. Several Israel organizations are petitioning the courts to intervene to halt the release of convicted felons. There is a difference between releasing those imprisoned for political offenses as those who are in jail for murder. Of course, as Palestinian prisoners are being released, Israel prisoners held by terrorist organizations still remain as prisoners.

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