Intention of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the Ministry of Prisoners drew sharp criticism from many Palestinians, and has formed a major obstacle facing the completion of the consultations over the government of national reconciliation.
A dispute broke out after Abbas announced his insistence on keeping his current ministers of foreign affairs and Awqaf in their posts, and his intention to replace the ministry of prisoners with an independent committee. This was rejected by Hamas and the announcement of the unity government which was expected on Thursday May 29 has been delayed.
The Minister of Prisoners in Gaza Atallah Abu Sabbah asserted that dissolving the ministry of prisoners would harm the detainees’ interests as their file will no longer be addressed on the government table.
He added in statements to the PIC that changing the ministry to an independent body run directly by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) means that this body will recognize the Israeli occupation and will shun violence.
“The prisoners will be thus classified as terrorists by the occupation, according to its standards, and this will disrupt their interests and their salaries; as the supporting forces do not help terrorists”, the minister said.
Meanwhile, the ex-captive Taysir al-Bardini, who was liberated in Wafaa al-Ahrar deal, condemned in statements to the PIC the decision to abolish the Ministry of Prisoners as dangerous, saying it would have a negative impact on the case of the prisoners.
The released prisoner Ahmed Fallit said the calls to eliminate the ministry of prisoners’ affairs are neither justified, nor responsible and came at the wrong time.
Fallit noted in statements to the PIC that the abolition of the ministry will lead to a significant decline in the services provided for the Palestinian prisoners inside the Israeli occupation jails as well as the liberated prisoners.
For its part, Waed Society for prisoners strongly condemned the decision and the timing of its issuance, which coincides with the “Battle of the Empty Stomachs” waged by the captives for the 40th day Monday.
Spokesman for the association Abdullah Qandil in statements to the PIC said Abbas has turned his back to the prisoners instead of working on internationalizing their issue and exposing the violations of the occupation against them.
Qandil also accused the Palestinian Authority Chairman of capitulating to Israeli, American, and European pressures that aim to harm the prisoners, and added that all Palestinian parties, captives and leaders; including leaders from Fatah movement expressed their rejection of the move.
A state of anger has also prevailed among the prisoners in the occupation jails in protest at Abbas’s decision, while nearly 1500 of them are waging an open hunger strike for the 40th day