Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas says freeing Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails is a " priority " for the Palestinian Authority(PA).
" The Palestinian leadership gives priority to the prisoners’ issue and ending their suffering, " AFP quoted Abbas as saying in a speech to a meeting of his Fatah party in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday.
" We cannot be silent about their staying behind bars…(we) have demanded the freeing of all prisoners, especially those arrested before the Oslo accords, and sick, child and women prisoners, " he added.
"But the Israeli government, in its arrogance, doesn't care" about the detainees, he noted. In light of "the achievements in the UN" -- a reference to upgraded Palestinian status at the UN late last year that angered Israel -- the PA would "go to the ends of the earth to protect our prisoners," Abbas went on to say. Abbas made the remarks after the death of a terminally-ill Palestinian in an Israeli prison sparked violent protests across the West Bank. Maisarah Abu Hamdiah, a cancer-stricken inmate, lost his life in an Israeli jail due to the lack of medical care on Tuesday. Abbas said that the PA had worked to get the prisoner released for treatment but the Israeli regime “refused to let him out, which led to his death.” Meanwhile, Israeli forces shot to death a Palestinian teenage in the West Bank during a demonstration against Hamdiah’s death. The Palestinian, who was identified as Amer Nassar, 17, was killed in clashes that erupted near the city of Tulkarem. More than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial.