Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hamas prisoner exiled to Syria

Bethlehem – Ma'an – The founder of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades in the West Bank arrived in Damascus on Tuesday, following an agreement with Israeli officials last week to release him on the condition he be exiled.

Saleh Al-Aruri was freed from Israeli prison and forced into exile along with his wife and mother, according to Al-Qassam's Web site.

Jordanian officials refused to accept Al-Aruri two weeks ago, and the three were forced back into the West Bank until they received permission to travel to the Syrian capital, the site reported.

Al-Aruri spent 18 years in prison on charges of organizing resistance to the occupation of the West Bank.

Israel implementing Shalit deal?

Al-Aruri's name is among those detainees which Hamas demanded in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier, raising questions that Israel and Hamas had confidentially implemented the a deal.

Issa Qaraqe, the West Bank-based prisoners minister, told Ma'an that accepting the exile decision was unacceptable, if confirmed. "How can a prisoner exile himself?" he said, insisting that Fatah has refused a number of times the prospect of releasing someone to exile.

Qaraqe said that "approving the exile opens wide the door to implementing the occupation's policy of renewing their offers for the prisoners." These offers are nationally unacceptable, Qaraqe added, especially if the person is forced to exile himself.

Omar Abdul Razzaq, head of the Change and Reform bloc, said the decision was personal and not Hamas' official stance. He dismissed reports that the exile "has anything to do with the Shalit deal."

Hamdan: The release of prisoner Aroori is not part of any swap deal
[ 01/04/2010 - 08:45 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan categorically denied that the release of prisoner Saleh Al-Aroori and his travel to Damascus was part of the swap deal, affirming that the deal is still stalled because of Israel’s intransigent attitude.
“I should make it clear that there is nothing new regarding the prisoner swap deal which was hampered by the [Israeli] occupation, so there is no progress in the deal,” Hamdan said in a press statement published on Wednesday by Quds Press.
The Hamas official accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah of working on aborting the swap deal.
“I believe that some parties [in the PA] were concerned about the prospects for the success of the deal and did not want it to succeed; they also demanded not to release specific names,” he underlined.
Director of Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies Fouad Al-Khafsh also denied news reports claiming that prisoner Aroori was released in the context of a swap deal between Israel and Hamas.
In a press release, Khafsh stated that Aroori was released after he lodged many appeals with the Israeli military court against his administrative detention without leveling any charge against him.
He added that every time, the Israeli military court turned down his appeals and told him that he could be released from prison if he accepted to be exiled outside occupied Palestine, the thing which was rejected by Aroori, but lately his lawyer reached a formula for his release, that were accepted by both parties, stipulating that he would be allowed to return to his family and home for a while before allowing him to travel abroad in order to complete his higher studies.
In another context, the director of Ahrar center urged Palestinian officials in charge of the prisoner swap deal to warn Israel that every month its soldier Gilad Shalit spends in captivity would prompt his captors to change and increase their demands for his release.