Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe’, stated that President Mahmoud Abbas insists on the release of all 104 detainees who have been held by Israeli since before the first Oslo Agreement in 1993, without any discrimination, or conditions.Qaraqe’ said that Abbas affirmed, during a meeting between the two, that all old detainees, and all ailing detainees, must be released, and that this stance in nonnegotiable, and was presented to U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, during his visit to the region.
He added that Israel previously offered the release of a number of detainees in return for resuming direct peace talks, and added that the release should be comprehensive, and not under Israeli preconditions.
Qaraqe’ stated that Abbas told Kerry that the detainees’ cause in an essential issue, and that the release of detainees who spent many years in Israeli prisons, and the ailing detainees, is a fundamental issue that cannot be compromised.
His statements came in response to Israeli reports about an Israeli initiative to release a number of detainees (approximately 104 detainees) in return for resuming direct peace talks.
“The release of all detainees is a legitimate Palestinian right”, Qaraqe’ said, “It’s not an issue that Israel should control and use as a bargaining chip”.
The Minister saluted all detainees and their families, congratulated the Muslims marking the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, and stated that human life, and the liberty of human beings, are sacred values, adding that the suffering of the detainees is the suffering of steadfastness, and determination.