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A delegation from the European Parliament has joined calls for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

It coincided with recent protests in the West Bank and a two-day international conference entitled “Freedom and Dignity”, held in Ramallah.

The meeting focused on the case of a Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, who has spent 11 years behind bars. He was convicted of murder by an Israeli court in 2004.

“Over the past 11 years, we have noticed an important change concerning the European position and especially within the European Parliament, European countries’ (national) parliaments, and also among civil institutions and European human rights organisations. We note this as a positive change,” said Fadwa Barghouti, his wife and lawyer.

Barghouti recently acccused the Palestinian Authority of not doing enough to secure his release.

He has been quoted as saying that new negotiations with Israel would be a waste of time.

He commands widespread support among all Palestinian factions.

Speaking from Ramallah, euronews correspondent Mohammed Shaikhibrahim said:
“Local efforts accompanied by an international campaign are ongoing to free the Palestinian prisoners in line with international agreements and in the first instance the Geneva accords; and this is aimed at relaunching the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis – since the prisoners issue is considered as unresolved between the two sides.”

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