Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said Monday that the prisoner swap deal is advancing and that a list of Palestinian prisoners will be delivered to the Egyptian mediators, then to the Israeli side.
The Palestinian premiere was speaking at a rally in Gaza staged by families of Palestinian prisoners. Haniya denied reports that the list to be presented does not include senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, rejecting to deal with the prisoners on basis of political affiliation.
"The Palestinian government is following up the matter very closely”, Haniya maintained. The Prime Minister called for the immediate release of all prisoners irrespective to their political affiliation, particularly the MPs and ministers, which Israel abducted last summer.
On another issue, the PM described the Abbas-Olmert meeting on Sunday as ‘unproductive’, voicing adherence to the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister met in Jerusalem yesterday within a series of bi-weekly meetings agreed upon last month during the visit of U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region.
As for the Gaza municipalities’ strike, the Palestinian PM confirmed that his government has transferred an amount of 10 million shekels (2.5 million dollars) to pay salaries of workers. Israel expressed disappointment and reservation over a prisoner swap deal, offered by the Palestinians, in which Israel releases hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for the release of corporal Gil’ad Shalit, who has been held by resistance groups in Gaza since June 2006.