PA Preemptively Demands Release of Terrorists Prior to Capture
PA Preemptively Demands Release of Terrorists Prior to Capture

In an interview with a media monitoring organization, a senior Palestinian Authority official made a preemptive demand for the release from Israeli jails of all those Arabs who will commit terrorist acts during post-Annapolis negotiations. He said they will be targeting "the occupation," not "the negotiations," and should therefore not remain in jail.

In light of the publication on Sunday that the terrorists who murdered Shavei Shomron resident Ido Zoldan, 29, last week are members of the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority security forces, the Independent Media Review & Analysis (IMRA) organization has distributed an interview it conducted on November 27, 2007, with Saleh Nazal, Director of the PA Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs. In the brief interview, Nazal clarified, in English, that all Arabs who commit anti-Jewish acts of terrorism, even during the period of PA-Israel negotiations following the Annapolis Summit, must be released from jail before any agreement is signed.

When asked by the IMRA interviewer about the extent of the PA demand for "the release of all Palestinian prisoners," Nazal said, "It is the position of the Ministry that all prisoners should be released during this process.  They are engaged in resistance against the Israeli occupation - not against the peace process. We want all the prisoners to be released because the reason that they were detained was resistance to the occupation."

IMRA: "So that is to say that people detained for activities they carry out between Annapolis and the signing of an agreement should also qualify for release at the time of an agreement?"

Nazal: "As I told you before.  This is resistance against the occupation, not resistance against the negotiations. The Israeli forces are arresting people, building settlements, building barriers. You are looking only now at one party and not looking at the other one."

Commenting on the interview, IMRA Director Dr. Aaron Lerner said, "The attitude of the 'moderate' PA towards the murder of Israelis is not empty rhetoric which can be ignored because it is inconvenient. The rhetoric is anything but empty, as the family of Ido Zoldan learned in the hardest way possible."

Israel's Haaretz newspaper quoted PA Minister of Information and Foreign Affairs Riad Maliki regarding the attack on Zoldan by PA policemen. Maliki called it an "isolated incident" that should have no bearing on peace negotiations.

On Monday morning, one day following the General Security Services and IDF revelations regarding the Zoldan murder, Israel authorized and executed

the release of 429 convicted terrorists. Those released were all affiliated with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah organization, officially regarded by Israel and her Western allies as "moderate."