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Fatah official: Prisoners incarcerated for over 20 years are “heroes”

“[Saeb] Erekat, Fatah Central Committee member and one of it's prominent leaders in the [West] Bank, said in an exclusive interview with the Saudi Arabian Al-Yaum newspaper… in response to a question about the alternatives the President [Abbas] spoke about should negotiations fail: ‘We made a commitment for now, and paid a very heavy price by [promising] not to turn to international institutions for nine months, in return for [the release of] 104 prisoners. This is a very heavy price, but it is an appropriate price, because countries that respect themselves go to war for their sons’ freedom. These are Palestine’s heroes, who spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons, and the time has come to release them, regardless of their geographic or political affiliation. There are 14 brothers from the 1948 [territories] (i.e., Israel), 10 from Jerusalem, 11 from the Islamic Jihad, 13 from Hamas, 7 from the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP], 21 from [various] organizations and 54 from the Fatah Movement. We agreed that they will be released without deportation, banishment or changing of their location, and if Israel repudiates these agreements, our alternative will be to turn to international institutions.’”

Note: In August 2013, Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinian terrorists from prison, which was the PA's precondition for renewing peace talks. The terrorists were released in stages. The first group of 26 was released on Aug. 13, 2013. The second group of 26 was released on Oct. 30, 2013.

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