Palestinians take their first steps to freedom

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Palestinians take their first steps to freedom

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On is his first day as a free man, Palestinian, Nafez Herez, had a chance to spend time with the son he has never met.

A member of the Fatah movement had been given a life sentence in 1985 accused of killing a number of Israeli soldiers.

Ismail Haniyeh the head of the Hamas in Gaza has authorised a 430,000 euro grant for the 294 freed prisoners in the territory. Family, not money is on the mind of Nafez Herez.

“After 26 years of captivity, this was the first day when I woke up and found my sons and my grandchildren around me, kissing and hugging me. It’s a wonderful feeling. Its an experience I did not feel it for many years,” he said.

The scenes of jubilation were repeated in Arab East Jerusalem where Ahmed Bazian greeted his family for the first time in over 30 years as a free man. The 53-year-old, blinded while preparing an explosion, was serving a life sentence.

“I am very happy with the warm welcome which my people have given. I think I can now put the thirty years of suffering in jails behind me,” he declared.

Headlines greeted the 477 prisoners who were released in the exchange deal. In a months time another 550 are set to be freed under the agreement. Like Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was freed the Palestinians will need time to get used to liberty.