The political bureau chief of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has reaffirmed that the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is a top priority for the movement.
Ismail Haniyeh made the remarks during a speech he delivered at a session on Palestinian detainees, martyrs, and injured on the third day of the ‘12th Pioneers of Jerusalem Conference’ on Saturday. Haniyeh stressed that the four Israeli troops captured in the besieged Gaza Strip would not be released unless the Palestinians behind bars in Israeli prisons were released in return.
Haniyeh once again noted that Hamas managed to free more than a thousand Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails in the Wafaa al-Aharar (“True Promise of Free Men”) prisoner swap deal with Israel in 2011.
While praising Palestinian prisoners and martyrs as “victims of the Israeli occupation and its terrorism,” he also hailed them for stepping in to defend their homeland.
Late last week, Haniyeh had said the Israeli prisoners in Gaza would not see the light of day until the Palestinian inmates held in Israeli jails enjoy “the sun of freedom.”
More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails. Hundreds have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which allows holding Palestinian inmates without trial or charge. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.