The freed Palestinian prisoners were received at the various crossing points into the Palestinian Territories by large crowds of well-wishers from across the political spectrum.
Prisoners from the West Bank arrived at the Betunia Checkpoint and from there were taken to the district headquarters in Ramallah. The 111 prisoners headed for the Gaza Strip arrived via the Rafah Border Crossing. Prisoners being deported abroad arrived at Cairo airport from where they were taken to al-Arish airport and then flown to various countries in the region including Turkey, Qatar and Syria. The female prisoner, Ahlam al-Tamimi was deported to Jordan.
The prisoners for the West Bank were received in Ramallah by national factional and Islamic delegations; the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas; and the President of the Legislative Council, Aziz Duweik. In a speech delivered at the Ramallah reception ceremony, the Hamas Deputy, Sheikh Hassan Youssef, affirmed that the prisoner exchange deal had proved a success and thanked the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip alongside the Egyptian government and their intelligence services for the role they played in assuring the success of the exchange deal.
The deal covered the release of prisoners with extended and life sentences including the dean of Palestinian prisoners, Nael al-Barghouthi, who has spent 35 years in Israeli prisons as well as prisoners from Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Israel whom Israel had refused to release over the past five years.
MEMO Photographer: Ibtehal Mansour