Friday 9 December 2011

Palestinian Authority unhappy with Gilad Shalit's release terms, complains to Europe

Issa Qaraqe came to Brussels with a nine other people and was also received by the Belgian parliament.  He told Belgian newspaper Le Soir: "At least people listen to me here in Brussels. European parliamentarians, European Commission senior officials, Catherine Ashton cabinet, the two chambers of the Belgian Parliament and several organisations have received me and listened to me. My message is to plead with them to put pressure on Israel - and if needs be to reconsider the association agreements that include a clause on human rights - to make this State [of Israel] respects the rights of prisoners on the one hand (those Gaza have no right to family visits, for example) and their release of the other. Israel considers itself above international law and this is everybody's concern". As to Gilad Shalit's release the minister, who spent ten years in detention in Israel, claimed that it sent the wrong signal that the only way to free Palestinian prisoners requires the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

Qaraqe Calls on European Parliament to Investigate Palestinian Prisoners Situation
BRUSSELS, December 6, 2011 (WAFA) - Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees, Issa Qaraqe, Tuesday called on the European parliament to send a fact-finding committee to investigate Palestinian prisoners’ conditions and suffering in Israeli jails.

In a meeting in Brussels with Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Tokia Saïfi [a former French Minister in Jacques Chirac's government], Qaraqe gave a detailed description of the difficult situation prisoners face in Israeli jails, which violates all international laws and humanitarian values.

He added that Israel does not care for any criticism regarding its violent and inhumane measures against prisoners, including 23 members of the Palestinian parliament, who are also considered international parliamentarians and cannot be detained under any justification.

Qaraqa said there is an unjustified delay by the European parliament in taking the required decisions to insure the protection of prisoners.

He stressed the need for the European parliament to support the Palestinian bid to the United Nations in order to determine the legal status of prisoners, and to be able to protect them in accordance with the relevant laws.

On her part, Saifi said she will support the request to send a fact-finding committee to the Israeli prisons as soon as possible, stressing the need to get all the information for the parliament in dealing with the prisoners’ issue.

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