The PA calls for the release of Lebanon's political prisoner Samir Kuntar
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly made attempts to secure the release of Lebanese political prisoner Samir Kuntar, held in Israel since 1979 for the involvement of an attack which killed four Israelis.
In the past, Lebanon's Hizbullah has demanded that Israel free Kuntar, while in 1985 the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro was taken hostage by Palestinians whose demands also included his release.
This marks the first time that the Palestinian Authority has rallied on Kuntar's behalf.
Kuntar's name is one of twenty prisoners which the PA is seeking to release from Israeli prisons. Also on the list is Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who was indicted in 2002 in Israel's civil court for "murder and attempted murder."
The release of the prisoners and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from several West Bank towns were to be at the heart of Palestinian demands in the summit which was scheduled between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for Tuesday.
The summit was postponed on Monday until next month due to disagreements about the meeting's goals, including the release of prisoners.
Though Israel is reportedly considering a number of the PA requests, according to Haaretz, it has only agreed to open discussions regarding Palestinian requests, and has yet to agree to any concrete steps.
One Israeli source told reporters regarding the release of the prisoners, "There is no intent of releasing them." Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has rejecting the release of prisoners "with blood on their hands."
However, Israel's Vice Premier Shimon Peres told reporters that PA "did not get a negative answer on all the issues." He added, "There are matters that are under examination [in Israel], for example, how many prisoners to release, which prisoners, and under what guidelines."
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