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The General Delegation of the PLO to the US welcomes the news of the pending release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. This issue is a core concern for our leadership which has repeatedly stated that there will be no final settlement to the conflict before all political prisoners are released.

While the spotlight of international media is now directed at the released prisoners, let us not forget the thousands of Palestinian prisoners left behind, enduring harsh and unacceptable treatment daily by Israeli authorities. Israel promised to release all Palestinian prisoners in the 1993 Oslo Accords, yet not only did it fail to honor this commitment, it also arrested more, swelling the number to the current 6,000.

On September 28th, Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons declared a hunger strike protesting the harsh and unfair treatment, including physical abuse, denial of education, use of solitary confinement, detention without charge or trial, and prohibiting family visits. We condemn this unfair treatment and call on the international community to ensure this injustice is redressed without delay.

For five years, the world has witnessed with much emotion and sentiment the chronicle and fate of a single Israeli soldier. We hope this will give the world a sense of the pain Palestinians feel individually and collectively over our 6,000 prisoners.

The General Delegation of the PLO to the US urges the US government, members of Congress, the American public and the international community to condemn the inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and to demand that Israel desist immediately from such violation of international conventions on the rights of prisoners in wartime conditions.

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