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PA Minister of Religion expresses pride for “heroic” Palestinian prisoners

Eid El Fitr [holiday] sermon by PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “We are happy, proud, standing resolute and continuing on our path, for this is the path Allah chose for us, a path full of obstacles, the path that ends in glory, honor and certain victory, Allah willing.
We will continue on our path and rejoice in it despite the tribulations, despite the wounds, despite thousands of prisoners staggering under [the yoke of] the occupation jailer – these honored ones, to whom today we send, on this great day, on this blessed day, our best wishes and expressions of pride.
We are proud of you, oh heroic men, we are proud of you, oh illustrious sisters – you, who all insist that Palestine comes before anything else, Palestine before anything else and that Palestine is greater than everything, and that the sacrifice is for its sake…

(He talks of 26 prisoners that were imprisoned before the Oslo Accords and who are the first group to be released in August out of a total of 104 prisoners whom Israel has agreed to release to fulfill the PA's precondition for renewing negotiations.)

In a few days, those of whom it was said that they would never leave prison – those who sat for decades in the occupation’s prisons, 20 years, more than 20 years, and some of them 30 years in the occupation’s prisons, so that people of little faith who don’t believe in themselves, in their people and in their leadership, thought the [prisoners] would never see sunlight of freedom – yet here they are, about to leave, about to touch freedom, embrace freedom in the land of freedom, in the land of the free, the land of the honored, the land of the Ribat fighters (Arabic: Murabitun, people carrying our Ribat – religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic), the land of Jerusalem and Jerusalem’s surroundings.
In a few days our eyes will look upon a group of these honorable fighters, and their eyes will look upon Palestine. The remaining [prisoners] are on the way, Allah willing…
The great Palestinian people rise up and tell the world: ‘We are here, Palestine is here, and there will be nothing here other than Palestine, Jerusalem is here and there will be nothing here other than Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is here, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is here, the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – unite here in one of the greatest expressions of national unity.’”

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