Egypt pressures Israel to release Palestinian prisoners

An Egyptian delegation met with Israeli officials on 13 January to apply pressure for the release of Palestinian prisoners who have gone on hunger strike.

At a press conference in Ramallah on Monday, Palestinian Prisoner Club Association (PPCA) head Qadoura Fares said that Israel has not yet responded to the Palestinian demands, because it’s busy with legislative elections scheduled to begin Tuesday, reported the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Egypt is ready to adopt serious measures as the sponsor of the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, Fares added.

Palestine has emphasized the necessity of releasing hunger striking prisoners who were rearrested after the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal, as well as prisoners arrested before the Oslo agreements with Egypt, Fares said.

He also said that the PPCA held a meeting that brought together the families of the prisoners and those concerned with their cause, who agreed to form a unified defense panel for the striking prisoners. They plan to revitalize popular and official solidarity, and to send messages through the Palestinian foreign ministry to the world to continue applying pressure on Israel to release the prisoners.

On 18 October 2012, Egypt brokered a deal between Hamas and Israel, whereby Hamas released Shalit — an Israeli soldier Hamas had arrested in 2006 — in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners who are serving long sentences in Israeli prisons.

However, Israel rearrested some of those prisoners, promoting them to go on a hunger strike.

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