At a conference this past weekend Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to release Palestinian convicts, saying that their release will reflect Jerusalem’s commitment to peace talks.
“Israel must be held accountable for its crimes,” Abbas was quoted as saying by the Ma’an News Agency. The Palestinian Authority has “the freedom to take legal action [against Israel] at any international forum,” Abbas said in a rerecorded speech at the opening of the Freedom and Dignity Conference Saturday in Ramallah.
Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe told the forum peace cannot be accomplished as long as Israel incarcerates Palestinian Arabs.
European Parliament Vice President Isabella Durant attended. She said Israel must be held accountable for holding prisoners under administrative detention and she also read a speech on behalf of European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who charged Israel with committing human rights violations by imprisoning Palestinian Arabs, Israel Today reported.
Former US President Jimmy Carter sent a videotaped speech in which he stressed that setting the Palestinian convicts free is a necessary condition for peace.