Ramallah, 25-11-07: Israel‘s release of 441 Palestinian prisoners in the run-up to Annapolis is a deception designed to create the illusion of Israeli goodwill, said PNI Secretary General Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP today. He revealed that Israel has arrested almost four times the number of prisoners it plans to free since the Annapolis meeting was announced on 16 July.
Between 17 July and 24 November 2007, a total of 1,714 Palestinians were arrested, 1,604 in the West Bank and 110 in the Gaza Strip, including 95 children.
Furthermore, 78 percent of those slated for release have served more than half their sentences, and 57 percent have served more than two thirds of their sentences, meaning that they were already due to be released in the near future.
The list also fails to include any of the 143 female prisoners, the 335 children or the tens of democratically elected Palestinian deputies that are currently being held in Israeli jails without charge.
Dr. Barghouthi stressed that the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners is a necessary condition to achieving a genuine peace. This paltry decision by the Israeli government is by no means a goodwill gesture and shows once again that Olmert‘s agenda at Annapolis is not to achieve a just peace but to impose a unilateral solution masquerading itself as peace.