Khaled al-Batash, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad terror group, threatened on Sunday that his movement will not allow Israel to continue its current behavior towards Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners.
Speaking at a rally in solidarity with two terror prisoners, Mahmoud Al-Sarasek and Akram Al-Richawi, currently being held in Israeli prisons, al-Batash said that the decision whether to escalate the situation or bring about calm is in Israel’s hands. He then threatened that if it any harm is caused to the prisoners, the group’s response will be painful and the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) will be in danger.
The two prisoners’ health has deteriorated recently, according to Arab sources, especially Al-Sarasek, who has been on a hunger strike for 81 days.
Al-Sarasek is a player on the PA’s soccer team and has been in prison for three years. He began a hunger strike in March in protest of the fact that he has not yet been brought to trial. He continued his hunger strike even after the end of the mass hunger strike by thousands of Arab prisoners.
As part of a deal to end the mass hunger strike last month, Israel made some concessions to the PA, including an agreement to stop placing prisoners in solitary confinement.
In addition, Israel agreed to allow prisoners to call relatives, to pursue academic studies, and to allow prisoners from Gaza as well as from Judea and Samaria to receive visits from family members.
The deal also included a release of the bodies of 91 terrorists to the PA. The release of the bodies was s another in an ongoing series of “gestures” by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the PA, in an effort to encourage PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to agree to return to negotiations with Israel.
So far, the PA has refused, although Abbas has accepted Israel's “gestures.”