The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees reported on Tuesday that nearly half of the detainees that Israel intends to release as “a good will gesture” will finish their terms in 2009. Israel vowed to release 200 detainees, and 95 of them are already supposed to be released by next year.
Riyadh Al Ashqar, head of the Media Office at the Ministry of Detainees, stated that the Israeli list of detainees does not include any sick detainee, especially those who suffer from serious illnesses such as cancer patients, paralyzed detainees, and detainees who suffer from kidney failure.
The list also excludes detainees who are Arab residents of Israel or those who are from Jerusalem.
Al Ashqar also said that only two female detainees will be released. The two detainees were identified as Khawla Zeitawi, from Nablus, and Ayaat Dababsa from Hebron. Zeitawi is imprisoned with her child daughter and already served 18 months out of 24. Detainee Ayaat was kidnapped 18 months ago and is only 15 years old; she was sentenced to three years.
Furthermore, Al Ashqar added among the 200 detainees, there are 30 who will finish their terms in 2010, 16 in 2011, 15 in 2012, 11 in 2013, 29 detainees are supposed to finish their terms in 5 – 9 years, and one detainee in 11 years.
The list does not include any of the detained Hamas legislators, and also excludes Fateh legislator Husam Khader who was kidnapped in 2004 and was sentenced to seven years, and legislator Mahmoud Abu Ali, who was sentenced to one life term. Abu Ali was elected while in prison as he was kidnapped by the army more than 28 years ago.
Also, the list excluded all 1300 sick detainees, including 130 detainees who are in very serious health conditions and need surgeries. 15 of them have cancer and are not receiving the needed treatment.
The ministry of detainees stated that the release of any detainee is a gain to the Palestinian people, but Israel should release all detainees who were kidnapped many years ago, women and children.
It is worth mentioning that there are more than 750 detainees who are sentenced to a minimum of one life term.
The ministry reported that it hopes that old detainees will be freed in a prisoner swap deal which could be achieved between resistance fighters, holding the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit captive, and Israel.