Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud 'Abbas has, in several statements in recent weeks, expressed praise and support for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons who are conducting a hunger strike; some of these prisoners carried out the worst terror attacks Israel has ever known. 'Abbas has called these prisoners "our symbols and heroes," declaring, several times, that their cause is the PA's top priority. He also hosted a delegation of families of martyrs and prisoners in his Ramallah headquarters. PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has referred to the leader of the hunger strike, Marwan Al-Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences and four years for his part in the planning of attacks killing dozens of Israelis, as "the fighter," and Fatah officials have visited mothers of martyrs and prisoners. Also, in its May 12, 2017 front-page headline, the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida called the prisoners "heroes of freedom and honor."
The following are examples of recent statements by 'Abbas and Fatah officials in support of the prisoners.
'Abbas At Reception For Delegation Of Families Of Martyrs And Prisoners: "I Say To The Prisoners: 'Patience, Your Victory Will Come, You Are Our Symbols And Our Heroes"
At a May 2, 2017 meeting in the U.S. with representatives of the Palestinian diaspora, 'Abbas said: "I say to the prisoners: 'Patience, your victory will come, you are our symbols and our heroes."
On April 28, 'Abbas held a reception at his Ramallah headquarters for a delegation of families of martyrs and hunger-striking prisoners, among them Latifah Abu Hamid, mother of a martyr and four of the prisoners.
'Abbas meets with Latifah Abu Hamid. Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA, April 29, 2017.
'Abbas's Ramallah meeting with delegation of families of martyrs and prisoners. Source: Wafa.ps, April 28, 2017.
At the reception, 'Abbas noted that "the issue of the prisoners is the Palestinian leadership's top priority." Calling on everyone to support the hunger-striking prisoners and to ease their suffering, he added: "The Palestinian leadership is in touch with international elements, in order to pressure the Israeli government to respond to the prisoners' demands."
Also at the reception were PLO secretary Saeb Erekat, Fatah deputy chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul, Secretary-General of the Presidency Al-Tayyeb 'Abd Al-Rahim, PA Prisoners Authority chairman 'Issa Qaraqe', Fatah Central Committee member 'Azzam Al-Ahmad, and PA General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj.
PA Prime Minister: We Are Proud Of The Strike Led By "The Fighter" Marwan Al-Barghouti
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah also joined in the glorification of the prisoners. In his April 16 statements marking Palestinian Prisoners Day, he said: "We feel pride and honor in light of the steadfastness of the prisoner's movement and its sacrifice. We the leadership and the people are united in support for them, and proud of the battle for freedom that they are waging under the leadership of the fighter Marwan Al-Barghouti.
Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul: Fatah Expresses Pride In Its Leadership And Its Fighters
In an April 16, 2017 announcement marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day, Fatah praised "the determination of the struggle, and the steadfastness and forbearance shown by the Palestinian prisoners, by means of the mightiest of acts of sacrifice. [Fatah] expresses pride in its leadership and in its fighters and in the ability of our brothers in the revolution and in the homeland to establish a method of struggle unprecedented in the history of the national liberation movement, despite the limitations and the oppression of the Israeli hangman." The movement stressed: "The national consent about the [hunger] strike plan led by Marwan Al-Barghouti, the leader, the prisoner, and the member of the movement's central committee, and alongside him the leaders of the movement, is a worthy model of the mentality that the fighters must adopt in order to attain victory for the Palestinian people and to actualize the national goals and principles."
On April 24, a delegation including Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul and Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Al-Moheisen visited the home of Umm Nasser Hamid, mother of a martyr and four hunger-striking prisoners, in Ramallah, in appreciation of the hunger strike that she herself is conducting in solidarity with her imprisoned sons. Al-'Aloul promised: "Fatah will continue the struggle until all our prisoners are released."
Fatah delegation visiting the home of Umm Nasser Hamid. Source: Pnn.ps/news, April 24, 2017.