World Bulletin / News Desk
A Palestinian lawmaker and senior Hamas leader has cast serious doubts on peace negotiations with Israel, a few hours after his release following a 26-month Israeli detention.
"We should reevaluate the peaceful settlement process and look for options to achieve the interests of the Palestinian people," Hassan Youssef told Anadolu Agency.
Youssef, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was detained by Israel on November 1, 2011.
He was released earlier this evening after spending 26 months in Israeli detentions.
"Palestinian detainees suffer unbearable conditions in Israeli jails," said Youssef.
He said he carries a message from around 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
"They want Palestinians to be united to advocate their release, especially prisoners who suffer chronic disease," he asserted.
His comments comes just after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Hamas should take into account that Israel would respond strongly against those who attempt to harm the country."
In response to a Gaza attack on Sunday morning, Netanyahu said the Israeli government is committed to "protecting tranquility in the south" and that they will continue their policy of pre-emptive action.
Israeli air forces attacked a Palestinian, allegedly held responsible for launching five rockets towards southern Israel last week.
Immediately after his release, Youssef headed to his Ramallah home where he was welcomed by family members and several Hamas leaders.
Israel is still detaining 13 Palestinian lawmakers.
Two days ago, MP Yasser Mansour went on hunger strike to protest his 14-month administrative detention.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees Affairs, there are 4,660 Palestinian prisoners, including women, in Israeli jails.
Al-Aqsa Mosque director slams Israeli digging
The holy city of Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are the target of a well-planned Israel war, according to the mosque's director.
"The occupation state [Israel] launches a systematic war against Al-Quds in general and the old city in particular through a massive network of underground tunnels," Sheikh Najeh Bukairat told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
He said the Israeli excavations, the worst since 1967, have reached Silwan district on the southern entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He said Israel had dug a network of tunnels, some extending for several kilometers.
"This war is even more dangerous than the use of missiles and tanks," cautioned Al-Aqsa Mosque director.
"Israel wants to create new realities on the ground at the mosque and Judaize the holy city."
Sheikh Bukairat said the Israelis are seeking to create safe corridors beneath the mosque to be able to reconstruct their so-called Temple Mount and have a foothold inside the mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to Judaize the holy city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity.
The Palestinians insist that Al-Quds will be the capital of their future state.
Palestinian families await return of bodies
Israeli authorities late on Sunday returned the remains of a Palestinian man, killed in a 2002 attack on an Israeli checkpoint, to his family.
"Hundreds of citizens and family members were at al-Taibeh checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarm to receive the remains of Majdi Khanfar," the coordinator of the national campaign to retrieve the bodies of the Palestinians held by Israel, Salem Khaleh, told Anadolu Agency.
The remains are due to be buried on Monday in his hometown of Silat ad-Dhahr,
Khanfar is one of 36 loved ones whose bodies had for years been buried in unmarked graves in Israel.
"We have been waiting this moment for more than 10 years to bury our son," Abed al-Jawwad Khanfar said.
"This is an emotionally charged moment for me and for my family," he added tearfully.
"My son, as any human being, deserves to be buried properly," said the father.
Khaleh told AA earlier that the Israeli decision followed a legal case filed by his group with the Israeli Supreme Court, which had ruled in favor of the release of the 36 bodies.
According to the national campaign, Israeli still holds the bodies of 200 Palestinians.
Remains of two more bodies would be returned to the Palestinians on Tuesday, he added.Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2014, 17:05