The Israeli occupation authorities have released Islamic bloc politician Mr Abd al-Jaber Fuqaha. He was given his freedom at the al-Thahiriya checkpoint near Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank on 3 February. The elected representative for Ramallah had served 27 months in "administrative detention" in a prison in the Negev Desert. He was met at the checkpoint by the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr Aziz Duweik, along with a delegation of other West Bank politicians.
Commenting on Israel's policy of arresting elected legislators, Mr Fuqaha said, "The occupation authorities and their supporters are mistaken in their actions in this respect because the arrest and harassment of politicians does nothing but increase their persistence towards the realisation of the dreams and aspirations of the people."
In a media statement Mr Fuqaha added, "The greatest concern for prisoners was the issue of the internal division in the Palestinian community". The prisoners' message, he said, is that Hamas and Fatah must remove all impediments to unity and national cohesion. "However," he warned, "the greatest obstacle to popular unity is the security partnership and co-ordination between the Palestinian Authority and the Zionist occupation."
Inviting the Palestinian Authority to end such co-ordination with the Israelis and return to the "embrace of the Palestinian people", Mr. Fuqaha asserted that, "the leadership, the hearts and the hands of Hamas are outstretched to the Fatah leadership for reconciliation and a return to unity and cohesion for the sake of the cause and the people".
MEMO Photographer: Ibtehal Mansour