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Abbas representative praises Gilad Shalit's kidnappers
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Representative of Abbas
praises Gilad Shalit's kidnappers:
We salute those who dug the tunnel
and who kidnapped Shalit 
 
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Representing Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas and speaking in the name of the Fatah movement at a ceremony in honor of the released prisoners, Jibril Rajoub, Deputy-Secretary of Fatah's Central Committee, praised Hamas for the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit:

"I say in the name of the Fatah movement - we salute those who dug the tunnel [to capture the Israeli soldier]; we salute those who captured the captive (Gilad Shalit), and salute those who guarded the captive until this deal was completed."
 
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Rajoub also praised the released prisoners, stating how no words exist in any language to describe their courage and heroism:

"I salute our courageous prisoners and I say to you that I cannot ... describe you, neither as heroes, nor as courageous, nor anything else. There are no words in the Arab dictionary, nor in any other dictionary, to describe you, but this modest reception is [our] utmost honor towards you."
 
Along the same lines, a columnist in the official PA daily expressed his joy over the exchange deal calling the released prisoners "the most precious loved ones," referring to them as "courageous women and men, our heroic prisoners, heroes of freedom":

"The eyes and hearts of millions of Palestinians... are watching with excitement and longing... for the arrival of hundreds of courageous women and men, our heroic prisoners, heroes of freedom... what overall national joy... that the most precious loved ones... have returned to us!"
 
The following are longer excerpts from Jibril Rajoub's speech representing Abbas in the name of Fatah and the official PA daily's column glorifying the prisoners:

Ceremony moderator: "We shall now hear the address by the representative of the President [Abbas], to be delivered by Jibril Rajoub, member of the [Fatah] Central Committee."
Jibril Rajoub, representing President Abbas: "We celebrate today with a group of fighters who were released in the latest exchange of captives. I say in the name of the Fatah movement - we salute those who dug the tunnel [to capture the Israeli soldier]; we salute those who captured the captive (Gilad Shalit), and salute those who guarded the captive until this deal was completed [Applause] ... I salute our courageous prisoners and I say to you that I cannot - neither I nor others, but even I, more than others, since I know your worth and recognize the measure of your resolve (i.e., Rajoub was himself a prisoner in the past) - [I cannot] describe you, neither as heroes, nor as courageous, nor anything else. There are no words in the Arab dictionary, nor in any other dictionary, to describe you, but this modest reception is [our] utmost honor to you, your history, and your families. And to our prisoners in the prisons - all good wishes, and I hope that our joy will be complete with their release and with the achievement of Palestinian national unity."
[PA TV (Fatah), Oct. 30, 2011]

Note: Jibril Rajoub himself was sentenced to life in prison in 1970 for throwing a grenade at an Israeli army truck. He was released in the "Jibril-Agreement" in 1985, when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine succeeded in releasing 1,150 prisoners in exchange for three Israeli hostages.

Official PA daily columnist Yahya Rabah:
Headline: "Welcome, heroes of freedom!"
"The eyes and hearts of millions of Palestinians in the homeland and outside of it... are watching with excitement and longing, at every moment, for the arrival of hundreds of courageous women and men, our heroic prisoners, heroes of freedom, when they arrive in Cairo, and then disperse among the arteries of our people, like blood flowing, full of glory and life - in Gaza [City] and in the other cities and village and camps of the [Gaza] Strip, in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, and in many of the neighboring countries. There the embraces of their relatives await them... and their nation will receive them there as symbols of giving and struggle and sacrifice. Their hope was just and their promise was true - here they are, released from behind bars and from the suffocation of solitary confinement, returning as free men! What [great] news - there is none more beautiful; what overall national joy... that the most precious loved ones, those lost in the gloom of Israeli prisons, have returned to us! This national celebration, with the welcome of hundreds of our glorious female prisoners and heroic male prisoners, must receive in full what it deserves from us... The national concern is one and the same, and the national celebration is one and the same, and the national achievement is one and the same, and the [Fatah-Hamas] rift is a deviation... Welcome, oh heroes of freedom; our eyes are already waiting and longing; the news has illuminated our hearts."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 13, 2011]


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