October 19, 2011


Palestinian prisoners could lead a peaceful resistance (Ahmad Jamil Azem, 10/18/11, The National)

The 1,027 released Palestinian prisoners in this case could play an active role in shaping society, not only as individuals but also because of the political movement within the prisons. In 2006, while polarisation worsened between Fatah and Hamas, the prisoners surprised their leaders on the outside with a manifesto that became known as "the Prisoners' Document".

The document outlined rules for reconciliation between Palestinians and, perhaps more importantly, it also implied a view towards a political settlement with Israel.

It was a remarkable political moment as leaders from Hamas supported negotiations with Israel.

More recently, reconciliation took a step forward when Mahmoud Abbas delivered his speech on statehood to the United Nations General Assembly on September 23. Hamas criticised Mr Abbas's move at the UN, but its disapproval could be described as soft compared to the previous exchanges of insults between the two parties.

Indeed, some senior figures close to Hamas in the West Bank expressed enthusiastic support. Among them was Nasir Al Din Shaer, a Hamas member and former deputy prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, who described the speech as "historic and strong". Later, he and a delegation close to Hamas visited Mr Abbas as a gesture of support.

Posted by at October 19, 2011 3:18 PM

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