Israel's refusal to release the fourth batch of terrorist prisoners has received backlash not only from the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, it was revealed Monday - but also from the terrorists still imprisoned themselves.
Several terrorists due to be released reached out to Palestinian Arab media sources to express their support for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to continue in talks with Israel until they are released. The comments were published in a single announcement signed by various terrorist prisoners.
"We express our support from prison for Mahmoud Abbas, for solidly standing behind Palestinian principles and being unwilling to give them up despite the various pressures on him," the statement said. They added that in light of the postponement of the release, they plan to enact protests from their cells, including a possible hunger strike.
The fourth batch of terrorist releases has sparked considerable controversy, as MKs point out that the previous releases have done nothing to further talks, and that several of the released terrorists have contributed to the increase in terror attacks over the past year.
PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat stated earlier this month that Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was staying in talks solely for the sake of the terrorist releases, prompting Israeli officials to reconsider completing the deal - which has always been contingent on real progress in the talks.
Over the weekend, Israel told PA officials that the deal was postponed, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the release would "topple the government" due to public and political backlash.
On Saturday, the PA claimed that Israel had offered to release 400 terrorists from its prisons so that peace talks continue. The idea has sparked a tremendous backlash from several politicians and officials, including Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin.