Abass’s office: ‘We will continue to support the prisoners in Israel and the families of the martyrs’

January 31, 2022 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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The issue of prisoners is a top priority for the “Palestinian presidency,” and it demands their release at every official meeting, with Israelis or Americans or any international body.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 18, 2020. Photo by Flash90.

This is what Palestinian Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Radina told Palestinian radio this morning.

The spokesman referred to publications in the Israeli and Arab media on this matter and emphasized that the Palestinian leadership also insisted on continuing to provide “allowances to prisoners and martyr families.”

A week and a half ago, the Arabic newspaper Asharq AL-awsat reported that the Palestinian Authority had asked Israel to release 25 elderly and sick prisoners who had been imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords. Last November, however, TPS reported on how Palestinian sources told it that the US was trying to advance economic assistance to the PA due to the acute economic crisis that it is experiencing, but on the condition that it stop paying salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons.

Sources also stressed to TPS that a series of conditions set by the US could delay the restoration of political relations with the current administration after they were damaged during the previous administration.

“The US believes that the PA should stop paying salaries to prisoners, a move that is perceived by many as supporting terrorism and requires a series of reforms in this matter,” a senior official emphasized. “The sensitivity in the United States is so high that two PA officials who were about to arrive in New York last September were warned that they might be arrested for their involvement in paying salaries to terrorist prisoners.”

The source also said the gap between the US and the PA could also delay the reopening of the US consulate in central Jerusalem on Agron St. for relations with the PA, which the US is offering to do on condition that the Palestinians take certain measures that will be seen by the Israeli public as positive steps and therefore soften Israeli opposition to the opening of the consulate.

Now, referring to recent statements by Prime Minister Bennett opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state, a spokesman for Abu Mazen said they were “worthless and would increase their determination to establish an independent Palestinian state.”

“As long as Israel continues this policy, it will prove to the world that it is not concerned with security and stability and it must know that the key to peace and security is in the hands of the Palestinians and not in the United States,” he said.

Regarding the PA’s relationship with the United States, he said that it is, “progressing very slowly, but have not reached a dead end and that no agreements have yet been reached on the basic issues, including the promises of the US President regarding Jerusalem and the consulate.”

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