Skip To Content
Breaking News

Palestinians Demand Release of Barghouti

The Palestinian Authority is set to demand that the Quartet pressure Israel to release prisoners in fulfillment of a pledge made by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, senior Palestinian sources told Haaretz on Monday.

Among the prisoners The PA wants released are Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat, both members of the Fatah leadership.

Abbas told Time Magazine a few days ago that, in 2008, Olmert promised him that Israel would release prisoners to the PA if a deal went through for the release of Gilad Shalit.

Olmert confirmed to Time that he had made the pledge.

Now the PA wants to present the demand ahead of a possible renewal of negotiations with Israel.

At the Knesset on Monday, MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al ) said that Israel should not be surprised if the two current conditions the Palestinians have set for restarting talks – a halt to construction in the settlements and recognition of the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations – become three, the third being the prisoner release.

The PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said on Monday that during meetings between Olmert and Abbas in Jerusalem in September 2008, as well as a few months later, Olmert pledged to release Palestinian prisoners if a prisoner swap for Shalit was concluded.

Erekat said a specific number of prisoners was not mentioned, nor were specific criteria, but that Olmert had agreed at the time that the number and criteria would be the same as those for prisoners released in exchange for Shalit, “and even better.”

Erekat said this was not to be a condition for restarting negotiations, “just as the freezing of construction in the settlements is not a condition.” Rather, it was a matter of fulfilling obligations, he said.

For more, go to

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.