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Secretary of Abbas' office honors released Palestinian prisoners in Abbas' name

"The prisoners released as part of the second stage of the [prisoner] exchange deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit arrived at the presidential residence in Ramallah late last night… In a speech he delivered on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, the Secretary General of the Presidential Office [Abd Al-Rahim] greeted the released prisoners and said: 'We welcome you among your people; you were in our hearts, in our conscience, and at the top of our list of priorities.' Abd Al-Rahim said: 'I convey to you the greetings of the President [Abbas], who gave me the honor of welcoming you. He wanted very much to be here, but he has important commitments outside of the homeland.' He added, 'You have always proved that you are stronger than the prison guards and the efforts to break [your] willpower; all of Palestine opens its arms to embrace you.'… Abd Al-Rahim noted that the sacrifice of the prisoners will not be in vain, since the sacrifice of the Shahids (Martyrs) and the prisoners touched the conscience of all free people in the world, and made Palestine a permanent feature on the political map."

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