Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas demanded in talks with US President Barack Obama that Israel free the most senior Palestinian Arab prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti, a PA official said Thursday.
Earlier this month, Abbas said Palestinians will not agree to extend peace talks with Israel beyond their April 29 deadline without Israel releasing more prisoners beyond the fourth and final tranche planned for later this month.
During his meeting with Obama in Washington on Monday, "President Abbas demanded the release of more prisoners and Palestinian leaders in Israeli jails, like Saadat and Barghouti and Shubaki," manager of the Palestinian prisoner club Abdulal al-Anani told the official Voice of Palestine radio.
He was referring to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat, former PLO finance official Fuad Shubaki and Marwan Barghouti, one of the main architects of the 2000 terror war often referred to as the Second Intifada or the Oslo War.
Barghouti, a senior member of Abbas’s Fatah party, is serving five life sentences for planning numerous terror attacks against Israelis. From his jail cell, he has threatened Israel with a third intifada.
Also on Thursday, an EU parliamentary delegation urged Israel to release long-term Palestinian prisoners, saying it was crucial to move a fragile Middle East peace process forward.