Mohammed Mar’i
Arab News
July 24, 2008 - 4:31pm§ion=0&article=112084&d=24&m=7&y=2008

Palestinian sources yesterday said that Israel has informed the Palestinian Authority that it is willing to pardon 24 wanted Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members as part of the deal signed between both sides in July 2007.

Israeli sources said that the decision was made following defense establishment assessments and a meeting on Tuesday between senior Palestinian and Israeli officials. Four of the men will be fully pardoned and would be able to move freely within Palestinian territories. The rest would be able to move freely within area A, which is under the security control of Palestinian Authority (PA), and will no longer be included on Israel’s most wanted list.

Under the agreement between Israel and PA, hundreds of wanted Fatah men will begin a three-month probation period. Those who were to refrain from engaging in military activity against Israeli targets were to be pardoned according to the agreement and removed from Israel’s most wanted lists.

The latest list of pardoned Al-Aqsa Brigades members does not include any prominent names, but a Palestinian security official said that “despite the small number, we believe that in light of the prevailing conditions we should welcome the list and continue to move forward, so that the amnesty will include all wanted members of the organization.”

“All of us are 100 percent committed to the agreement and to the orders of (Palestinian) President (Mahmoud) Abbas,” he said.

Meanwhile, the governor of West Bank city of Nablus, Jamal Mhaisen, said that Israel has reversed its decision to close down the Nablus Mall. Mhaisen’s remarks came after a meeting between him and other Palestinian officials with senior Israeli defense officers.

The mall has been closed as part of Israeli crackdown on civil facilities and charities affiliated to Hamas movement since July 14. It was due to be confiscated on Aug. 8 after the Israeli commander responsible for the Nablus district claimed it was funding “terrorist groups.” The commander who issued the original order was present in the meeting, according to Mhaisen.

The Nablus Mall is an important commercial center, with 50 shops and offices. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad yesterday threatened to retreat a security plan if Israel continued its raids on West Bank cities.


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