The chief Palestinian peace negotiator praised Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, most of whom have been convicted of terrorist crimes, “for their acts of heroism, and for their ongoing battle with the occupation,” Palestinian Media Watch reported on Thursday, citing the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper.
“Our brave prisoners, who gave and sacrificed their freedom for Palestine and its freedom, are worthy of aid, support, and constant activity by us in order to release them and put an end to their suffering,” Saeb Erekat said at a solidarity rally held for Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank city of Jericho earlier this month, according to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
“The prisoners’ cause is a national and central cause, and we bow our heads in admiration and honor of the prisoners’ sacrifices, for their acts of heroism, and for their ongoing battle with the occupation,” he told participants at the rally, which was also attended by Majed al-Fatiani, the District Governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley.
The majority of the Palestinians imprisoned in Israel have been found guilty of participating in terrorist attacks. Among them are convicted mass-murderer Abdallah Barghouti, who is serving 67 life sentences over his role in numerous bombings, including at the Hebrew University cafeteria in 2002, the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, and a Rishon Lezion nightclub bombing in 2002, which killed 66 people. His victims hailed from Israel, the United States, France, Argentina, and Brazil. (Barghouti has reportedly received over $150,000 for his efforts from the PA, which pays salaries to convicted terrorists and their families.)
Other prisoners include convicted killers such as Ibrahim Hamed, a Hamas commander serving 54 life sentences for planning suicide attacks that killed 46 people during the Second Intifada, and Abbas al-Sayed, another Hamas terrorist serving 35 life sentences for masterminding two suicide bombings that killed 35 people and wounded hundreds. Al-Sayed received honors from the PA for his involvement in the 2002 Passover massacre, the victims of which included senior citizens and Holocaust survivors. The PA’s Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs presented his family with an official plaque on the anniversary of the atrocity in 2011.
[Photo: U.S.-Islamic World Forum / Flickr]