Released Terrorist Welcomed by President Abbas, Received as Hero at West Bank
On April 10, the Palestinian Authority TV aired footage from a party held for released Fatah terrorist Rajaei Haddad, who was released from prison after serving 20 years for his involvement in the murder of Israeli citizen Gabriel Hirschberg in 1997. President Abbas held a one-hour meeting with Haddad, prior to the party. Jamal Muhaisen of the Fatah Central Committee, who participated in the party, said that "the message to the occupation is that the issue of the prisoners and of the martyrs is where we draw the line."
Reporter: "President Abbas welcomed released prisoner [Rajaei] Haddad, Jerusalem, to emphasize that our leadership gives top priority to the issue of our prisoners. Let's watch the welcoming ceremony.
"Despite the efforts by the occupation to taint the joy in Jerusalem, the people of Jerusalem have come here to welcome our dear brother Rajaei, after 20 years in prison. The joy is indescribable. What are your feelings after 20 years?"
Palestinian woman: "This is the sweetest joy there is – sweeter than a wedding or anything. We have been waiting for 20 years, and Allah be praised, he came out safe and sound. Allah willing, the rest of the prisoners will also be released."
Reporter: "What is your first message after your release?"
Rajaei Haddad: "My first message, needless to say, is the [need for] national unity. I thank Allah for the help of [PM] Hamdallah's and [Intelligence Chief Majed] Faraj. The prisoners are well, and they send their regards to everybody. I want to tell the prisoners that everybody is asking about them. The president asked me about each and every one. Let me thank the president for this meeting – he cleared his schedule so that we could meet immediately after my release. We sat together for a full hour, and he listened to me. He asked me about the prisoners, listened to me, and wrote down everything. The president sends his regards [to the prisoners]. He heard what I had to say. Everything will be alright, Allah willing."
'Adnan Ghaith: "First, let me salute our prisoners, who are languishing in prison. Here, in our capital of Jerusalem, our people welcome a leader, a hero, and a fighter, who sacrificed twenty years for the sake of Jerusalem, Palestine, and our great people."
Jamal Muhaisen: "I am very happy to join the people of Jerusalem, our eternal capital, in welcoming this Fatah knight, who spent 20 years in the prisons of the Israeli occupation, in defense of our land, our people, our independence, and our freedom. This [party] is a message of loyalty to the prisoners, the heroes. It is also a message to the occupation that the issue of the prisoners and of the martyrs is where we draw the line."