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Palestinian Authority accused of neglecting prisoner issue

February 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Fatah Central Committee and Palestine National Council member Marwan Barghouti has accused the Palestinian Authority of not putting the issue of prisoners in Israeli jails as a priority in negotiations with the occupying state. In an interview given from his cell to commemorate his 11th year in an Israeli prison, Barghouti stated his belief that, for the past 20 years, “There hasn’t been enough effort and pressure to force Israel to release me and the other prisoners.”

Accusing the PA of inefficiency and neglect, Barghouti said that it is time to deal with this important national issue with national responsibility: “We must make a strategic decision to end this matter and release all the prisoners.”

Palestinian prisoners, he said, are in “continuous conflict” with the Israeli prison authorities. “We are trying to put pressure on the occupation to release the prisoners as a top priority.”

He added that the prisoners are keen to reinforce the unity of the prisoner movement, organise its ranks and overcome the negative impact resulting from the Palestinian political split. “Palestinian prisoners,” he insisted, “are eager to continue the battle to improve living conditions behind bars and are preparing meticulously to get their status acknowledged as prisoners of war and freedom fighters.”