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PA official on terrorist prisoners: They are “freedom fighters”, should be released “unconditionally”

Headline: "Erekat: The Netanyahu government wants to divert the world's gaze from the continuation of the occupation"

"Yesterday evening [June 15, 2017] the PLO Department for Negotiations held a feast to break the [Ramadan] fast for families of the prisoners in the occupation's prisons in the presence of consuls, ambassadors, and the representatives to Palestine of various states. Present at the meeting were Secretary of the PLO [Executive Committee, PLO Chief Negotiator, and Fatah Central Committee member] Saeb Erekat, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, Minister (sic., Director) of [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake, and Chairman of the [PA-funded] Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares…
Erekat said: 'The meal to break the fast has become an annual tradition that brings together the families of the prisoners and members of the Arab and foreign diplomatic corps in Palestine.'

He added: 'We are working to end the occupation, to realize the sovereignty of the State of Palestine whose capital is Jerusalem, and to release all of the prisoners unconditionally, as they are fighters for freedom.' …He also noted that the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu wants to divert the world’s gaze from the fact that the occupation has continued for 50 years by persecuting institutions of the Palestinian people and talking about the salaries (rawatib) of the prisoners and Martyrs (Shahids)…
Karake said that the fact that the occupation government has submitted a bill to steal and confiscate the Palestinian people’s tax money constitutes illegal robbery and an attack against the Palestinian entity and the government of Palestine.
He emphasized that our people will not accept the bill submitted by [members of] the Israeli Parliament and will continue to assist the prisoners that are in the occupation's prisons and the Martyrs' families, as this is a part of the principles of our [national] beliefs and our struggle against the Israeli occupation. He said: ‘The description of the prisoners and Martyrs as terrorists has been rejected out of hand, as international law allowed us to struggle for the end of the occupation, whose existence is considered to be the reason for the terror in the region, and with its end the occupation will also end.'
Karake continued: 'Our people and our society are victims of the occupation. There would be no prisoners if there was no occupation, and there would be no Martyrs if there was no occupation, and our minimal obligation is to take care of the suffering of the families of the prisoners and Martyrs, and that is what is happening among all peoples that are victims of occupation.'
Along with this, Qadura Fares said that the prisoners recently completed a heroic [hunger] strike against the fascist policies that the occupation is implementing against them. He also noted that the main and sole source for creating terror is the Israeli occupation.
He added that our people will not agree to any conditions imposed on the money that is given to the families of the prisoners and Martyrs, and this matter has a connection to our narrative and is an ideological matter that is not up for discussion as far as the Palestinian people are concerned. Our people cannot agree to what the occupation wants and we will not carry out what it is striving to do against the families of the prisoners [or agree to] their being defined as terrorists."

Hunger strike (April-May 2017) Palestinian terrorist prisoners launched a hunger strike on April 17, 2017, which ended on May 27, 2017, after an agreement was reached. While the prisoners had issued a list of demands, reportedly only the demand to have the Red Cross reinstate a second monthly family visit for prisoners was agreed to. Nevertheless, the PA has claimed the development as a victory.