Friday, February 04, 2005

Prisoners Release Disappoints Palestinians

Palestinians have urged Israel to expand a prisoner release to ensure the success of a summit both sides hope will result in a formal declaration to end violence. Israel disappointed the Palestinian leadership by refusing to include those jailed for deadly attacks among the 900 prisoners whom Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and top cabinet ministers agreed on Thursday to release in a goodwill gesture.
Israel stuck to its criteria of not releasing those it described as having 'blood on their hands'," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. "That means that all the prisoners who were jailed before (interim peace deals) in 1993 will not be released," he said.
On the other hand Sharon says Abbas’ efforts are insufficient, although violence has dropped sharply during Abbas's efforts to coax militants into a truce they say must be reciprocated by the Israeli army. He has also deployed Palestinian security forces in Gaza to combat militants. Sharon said that despite such moves, Abbas has still not done enough to stop anti-Israeli attacks.
Source: Reuters

Personally, I believe sticking to Israel’s old criteria by releasing only 900 and excluding “those with blood on their hands” is making this release a very ordinary prisoners’ release, not one hoped for in this summit to make the situation better. Abbas is being so cooperative in reaching a peaceful solution to stop violence, but seems to me Sharon insists on following his "they’re-not-doing-their-part" policy, as he keeps accusing the Palestinian part of not paying enough efforts while sticking to his old criterias.
If this summit is to be a success to both sides, then Abbas shouldn’t be the one getting all the international blame for “not being able to keep militants under control”, Sharon has his big role to play, and I guess it’s about time to show the potential to cooperate.
The prisoners Israel is refusing to release are ones who killed once upon a time, what about the Palestinians being killed even while negotiations are taking place?! What about the Palestinian children thrown in prison on daily basis!
The Palestinian part needs to get its rights and guarantee its freedom and security as much as the Israeli part does.