Top Palestinian negotiator, Sae’b Eriqat, slammed Wednesday the Hamas-led government for being unable to release BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who has been held hostage in Gaza over the past several weeks.
In an interview with the Voice of Palestine radio, Eriqat said that the government knows Johnston’s whereabouts, yet it has so far failed to secure his release.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters in Ramallah today that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is concerned about the safety of Johnston.
Abbas said that any military operation against the captors would jeopardize Johnston’s life, affirming that efforts are underway to secure a safe release of the BBC reporter.
A well-informed source, speaking in a condition of anonymity, told IMEMC that the British delegates who met with Abbas in Ramallah rejected the kidnappers’ demand for a ransom in return for Johnston.
The source added also that the Britons had also rejected any rescue operation to release the reporter for fear about his life.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, told European parliamentarians yesterday that he is keen to end this case once and for all.
Ahmad Yousef, a senior advisor to Haniya, confirmed Wednesday that the Palestinian PM sent out a toughly-worded message to the kidnappers.
In a similar note, chief negotiator Eriqat warned of the PNA’s inability to restore order to the unruly Palestinian territories, saying that the Palestinian will, which opted for the current government will finally refuse it.
Alan Johnston, the veteran BBC reporter, has been kidnapped by unknown group outside his home in Gaza on March12. Johnston’s captivity is the longest, endured by a foreign journalist or aid worker in Gaza over the past three years.