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Prisoners released by Israel "refused to pledge not to return to resistance operations"

An Israeli newspaper has claimed that most of the Palestinian prisoners freed in the exchange deal between Hamas and Israel refused to pledge never to return to the resistance operations. According to the Hebrew-language Maariv, because some of the prisoners were serving sentences classed as active resistance to Israel's military occupation, the intelligence services tried to get them to sign such a pledge. Their efforts failed.

In an article on Monday, Maariv said that a few hours before the prisoner exchange took place, intelligence officers went to the prisons where those due to be released were being held, intending to force them to sign a pledge not to return to what they called "terrorism". Prisoners told the officers that they did not ask to be included in the deal and refused to sign any documents, knowing that Israel had already agreed to the exchange.

The intelligence officers, it is alleged, were at a loss in the face of the solidarity between the prisoners on this issue. Prison sources said, "These officers are used to being the kings in their relationship with Palestinian prisoners, but this time they were embarrassed when the prisoners told them that they will be free even if they don't sign anything."

As such, said Maariv, the intelligence officers had to content themselves with reading out the text of the pledge to the assembled prisoners. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office confirmed that signing such a pledge was not part of the agreement reached with Hamas.

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