Palestinians are rejoicing today in the release of 199 prisoners from Israeli prisons. The release was announced last Monday, and was likely timed according to Condoleezza Rice‘s arrival in Israel.
The release process was held up several times by the Israeli cabinet, which held three separate votes on the issue. Among the freed prisoners were Said al-Attaba, Israel's longest serving Palestinian, imprisoned in 1977, and Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Ali, imprisoned in 1979.
body on the line was in Nablus for the welcome celebrations and compared them to Samir Kuntar's welcome this past July. The blogger wrote:
We waited in the sweltering heat for a few hours (Huwara, by the way, is at most a 10 minute drive from downtown Nablus). It reminded me of going to Samir Quntar’s welcome home festivities this summer, although Hezbollah had chairs for us and fabulous live band (though here we were not getting hit on the head by people waving their flags). But here I could get much closer to the stage, it was not sex segregated, and the crowd was much smaller (I don’t even think the entire crowd in Dahiyaa that day would be able to fit in downtown Nablus). A friend of mine later joined us and I kept hearing people complain about the heat. True, it was unbelievably hot; but I kept thinking about all the torture and living hell these men had endured–one for 32 years–and I thought the least we can do is stand here and give them a hero’s welcome.
The blogger also remembered the prisoners who were not released:
Of course the most famous political prisoners were not released today from their torture chambers: Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat. There was a huge poster in downtown Nablus (see below) about Sa’adat. And of course of the rest of the 10,000+ prisoners in Israeli jails must be remembered. But it also must be remembered that EVERY NIGHT Israeli Terrorist Forces (ITF) kidnap and imprison Palestinian political prisoners. My friend Mustafa, who lives in the old city of Nablus, tells me every day about stories of the ITF coming in with bombs and guns and terrorizing families. In a way, the old city of Nablus is kind of like a refugee camp in that way. It is one of the many sites that gets invaded nightly. Yesterday 9 Palestinians were kidnapped from various West Bank Cities, for instance.
The story was accompanied by the blogger's own photographs, including this one:
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