Abbas: No Peace Until All Prisoners Are Released
Peace is not possible so long as there is even one terrorist prisoner still in an Israeli prison, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared on Tuesday night.
According to Kol Yisrael radio, Abbas made the comments in a welcoming ceremony for 21 Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists who had been released from Israeli jails as a gesture to Abbas.
Abbas added, the report said, that the PA would continue its efforts to ensure that all terrorists serving time in Israeli jails are freed.
"All 104 prisoners [that Israel has agreed to release] will be released, but the real joy will only come when all Palestinian prisoners are released. We undertake to continue the efforts to release all prisoners until they return to their homes,” he said.
A total of 26 terrorist prisoners were released by Israel on Tuesday. Five of them were transferred to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
The 21 who were deported to the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria left the Ofer prison near Ramla in two minibuses with blacked-out windows and drove the short distance to the Beitunia crossing, AFP reported.
As they entered the PA, they were greeted with cheers and fireworks by some 1,500 PA Arabs who were awaiting for them.
The 21 terrorists then set out for nearby Ramallah were they laid wreathes at the gravesite of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat before being welcomed at an official ceremony headed by Abbas.
Welcoming ceremonies and celebrations for freed terrorists have been customary at the PA whenever Israel releases terrorists. Abbas made similar comments the last time Israel freed murderers.
The five Gazans were met by hundreds of relatives and well-wishers as they entered Gaza through the Erez crossing from Israel, according to AFP.
All 26 were convicted for killing Israelis, with most of the attacks occurring before the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by the Almagor organization and by the families of victims of terrorism against the release of the 26 terrorists.
The judges stated that the government has the authority to determine the appropriateness for release of each of the prisoners, and that "it has been this way in the past and so it is in this case."
On Monday, more than 3,000 people demonstrated outside the Ofer prison against the release of terrorist murderers.