Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit deal
Photo: Reuters
Mohamed Ibrahim Nasser

Palestinian prisoners' families hope for relatives' release

Inmates' families closely follow reports of list of prisoners to be released in course of new peace talks; 'We were really hopeful before Shalit deal as well,' says wary relative

Families of Palestinian prisoners live between hope and pessimism as Israel considers a list of prisoners to be released in the course of the recently-announced peace talks.


"I really hope my husband will be released but it's not 100% sure," said Samia, wife of Mohamed Ibrahim Nasser who has been held in Israel since 1985.


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"We pray and hope the reports are true and that the prisoners are released," she told Ynet.


חגיגות שחרור אסירי עסקת שליט ברמאללה (צילום: AFP)

Celebrations of Shalit deal prisoners' release in Ramallah (Photo: AFP)


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas provided Israel with a list of 103 prisoners held in Israel since before the Oslo Accords were signed, but Israeli officials insist that the Arab-Israeli prisoners, 14 names on the list, will remain in jail.


Samia noted that when reports of prisoners' release started pouring in, the family was concerned Nasser will not be one of them. "One moment we believe and the next we don't," she said.

"We don't know if there's truth to these things."


According to her, the family had its share of disappointment in the past when rumors that Nasser might be released were proven false.


"Prior to the Shalit deal we were really hoping he would be released," she said. "They told us then that his name is on the list of prisoners Hamas has demanded, and in the end he stayed in jail."


According to her, the family is waiting for answers but "is ready for any possibility."


Conversely, relatives of Othman Beni Hassan, jailed in Israel since 1985 for the murder of two Israelis, expressed great optimism that he will be released.


עותמאן בני חסן. רצח שני ישראלים

Othman Beni Hassan


"We are definitely glad and hope he'll be released," his brother Riyyad said. "My brother has been in jail for more than two decades, and we're optimistic."


Riyyad noted that the family has not talked to Othman since the reports of a prisoners' release surfaced. "We want to talk to him and thank the Palestinian leadership and also the Israeli one for reaching this agreement," he said.


According to him, the family supports negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. "We don't consider the brother a hero, because when he murdered (the Israelis) he was a 16-year-old boy and didn't even understand the meaning of what he did. Today he supports peace and Abbas."


אחמד שחאדה. יושב על רצח

Ahmed Shehada 


Relatives of Ahmad Shehada, jaild in Israel since 1985 for the murder of a suspected collaborator with Israeli authorities, are divided about the chances he will be released.


"Some family members were overjoyed by the report and some were not, because they don't have much hope that he'll actually be released," said Subhiya, Shehada's mother.


"Last time (during the Shalit deal) they told us there's a good chance he'll be released, and when that didn't happen we were greatly disappointed, and now we don't want to get our hopes up."


The mother noted that talk of prisoners' release as an Israeli gesture to the Palestinian Authority has been discussed many times in the previous round of negotiations.


"The negotiations go on and on but prisoners were not released – until we know for certain we'd rather keep our feet on the ground."



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פרסום ראשון: 07.21.13, 16:32
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