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Terrorist prisoners are “most precious thing” and “out of the question” to renounce them and stop salaries, says PLO official

Official PA TV program PLO Present and Future, hosting PLO Executive Committee member and head of PLO Department for Social Affairs Bassam Al-Salehi

Official PA TV host: "[PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] emphasized from the podium of the UN the subject of the families of the Martyrs (Shahids), the prisoners, and the wounded [and said] that the PA and PLO will not give up [on them]. The department- There is the [PLO] Families of the Martyrs [and Wounded] Institution, and you mentioned earlier that there will be a connection between you as the ministry (sic., department) for social affairs [and the PLO] Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution]. What is the plan regarding the care of the prisoners' families and the activity with the [PLO] Department for Social Affairs?"
Head of PLO Department for Social Affairs Bassam Al-Salehi: "First, there won’t be any consensus regarding President Abbas’ positions like the existing consensus on his positions for the families of the Martyrs and the wounded. This is an open and clear position that is not debatable, which was said behind closed doors, before the world, and at the UN. In other words, it is out of the question to renounce the most precious thing the Palestinian people holds, and that is the memory of its Martyrs, their families' rights, the role of their fighters in prison, the wounded, and so on. Therefore, the position on the matter is firm. What will this position demand? Let it demand what it will. However, it must not be retreated from under any condition. Now we must examine the means that will guarantee the continued fulfillment of all the demands of the families of the Martyrs, the wounded, and the imprisoned, regardless of the means that could be taken or threatened. In my opinion, this matter is at the top of the priorities of the Palestinian [PA] government and the PLO, and the ways to take care of it are not lacking. Therefore, at the moment in the matter of the prisoners' families, there is perhaps an organizational issue, that [the institution of] the prisoners' families was in the past part of the Department for Social Affairs. There is currently a trend in this direction. We hope that we will complete it in the framework of an organizational system, but on the basis of the same position according to which there can be no retreat from this issue."