Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected, Monday, an Israeli proposal to release a number of veteran security prisoners, according to PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs, Isa Karaka. Karaka made it clear that Abu-Mazen insisted that all prisoners arrested before 1994 be released, based on the Sharm El-Sheikh agreement of 1999, which required Israel to release all prisoners arrested before the establishment of the PA.
Karaka also made it clear that Abbas brings the matter up in all his dealings and that the subject is on the agenda of all contacts between the PA and Israel. He said that a deal agreed to by former prime minister Ehud Olmert was deferred until the release of soldier Gilad Shalit and Israel did not honor the agreement upon his release. He also said that Abu-Mazen did not agree to remove prisoners from their homeland and insists on their being restored to their homes and families.