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Palestinian prisoners need OK by Erdoğan
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 18 Oct 2011 Tue 12:02 am

Palestinian prisoners need OK by Erdoğan

Sevil Küçükkoşum


Top Turkish officials have been reportedly involved in deciding whether to host Palestinian prisoners who will be deported after their release by Israel
Palestinian women hold pictures of their jailed sons. Turkey is expected to host a small group of Palestinians to be freed soon. REUTERS photo
Palestinian women hold pictures of their jailed sons. Turkey is expected to host a small group of Palestinians to be freed soon. REUTERS photo

A small group of Palestinian prisoners is expected to arrive in Turkey within days as part of the swap deal with Israel if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gives his consent, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned. The move would come after a covert operation that only a few Turkish officials, including the prime minister and foreign minister, had knowledge of until recently.

However, the deal has not been completely hammered out yet, sources told the Daily News.

“The whole process sped up as of Sunday night,” a senior Turkish diplomat told the Daily News, speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity. “How many [prisoners] will come to Turkey is not determined yet. But when they come, they will be free citizens. Still, there is a small possibility that no prisoners would come to Turkey.”

As part of the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, which will see more than 1,000 Palestinians freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Turkey is among three countries that will receive some of the 39 Palestinians to be sent abroad, according to Hamas officials. However, Turkish Foreign Ministry officials told the Hürriyet Daily News they had no information on Turkey’s involvement in the swap operation.

The Daily News has revealed the names of the 39 Palestinians, which were seen by Israel as “too dangerous” to be sent to either the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, on its website yesterday. These Palestinians, 33 of whom were serving life sentences in Israeli prisons, are expected to be deported to three countries, namely Turkey, Syria and Qatar.

“At the moment, the countries that will accept prisoners are Turkey, Qatar and Syria,” a Hamas official in Gaza told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. “These countries, along with Egypt and Hamas, will coordinate the procedures under which the prisoners will be moved,” the official said.

Hamas’ deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk also said Oct. 17 that the three countries have agreed to “absorb” the Palestinian prisoners who will be deported, according to a report by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.

However, Turkish diplomats have not yet officially confirmed that the country will host Palestinian prisoners. Thus, talks could have been carried through Turkey’s intelligence organization which reports directly to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as was the case in previous negotiations to release Israeli soldier Shalit.

It was not immediately clear whether the prisoners will have the right to free movement once they arrive in the third countries. It also remains unclear under what legal status they will be allowed to reside in the country, a Palestinian official told the Daily News. The length of the exile period will be equal to the years they were sentenced to serve in Israel, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Israel is set to release 1,027 prisoners in two stages in exchange for freedom of captured solider Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas militants in June 2006. The first stage of the exchange is planned to be finalized today, when Israel is expected to free 477 prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s return. Of the first group, 39 are expected to be exiled overseas, including 26 from the West Bank, 13 from east Jerusalem and one from Gaza. The remaining 550 prisoners will be released in about two months, according to the terms of the deal between Israel and Hamas.

The spokesman of Hamas’ military wing, Abu Obadiah, said Oct. 16 that Israel and Egypt would meet once a year to review the status of the deported prisoners.

Among the prisoners to be released are Walid Anjas, who received 36 life sentences for a 2002 attack on a Jerusalem bar that killed 11 Israelis, and Nasr Yateyma, who was convicted of planning the 2002 Passover bombing that killed 29 people.

The others were involved in kidnapping and killing Israeli soldiers. There are also several senior Hamas leaders slated for release, including Yehia al-Sinwar and Rawhi al-Mushtaha, who helped found the movement’s security arm, al-Majd.

The swap deal has the support of eight out of 10 Israelis, according to a poll in the Yediot Aharonot daily. Those opposing the deal are several families who lost people in Palestinian attacks, with the Israeli High Court on Oct. 17 to hear four petitions against the release, a procedure that must first be exhausted before the exchange operation can go ahead.

2.       lemon
1374 posts
 19 Oct 2011 Wed 02:23 pm

Amazing! A life of one soldier is such precious to the government of Israel.

To be honest what I feel this is a slap for the Arab world from Israel.

3.       Abla
3647 posts
 20 Oct 2011 Thu 11:33 pm

Agree with you, lemon. Israel turned out again to be the poor peace loving nation, surrouded by hostile neighbours. Now we just wait and see if Benjamin Netanyahu will get his Nobel peace reward which he is worthy of.

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