Abbas wants prisoners released

April 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, April 28 (UPI) -- The release of Palestinians jailed in Israel will reflect Jerusalem's commitment to peace talks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.

Israel must be held accountable for its crimes, Abbas was quoted as saying by the Ma'an News Agency. The Palestinians have "the freedom to take legal action [against Israel] at any international forum," Abbas said in a a prerecorded speech at the opening of the Freedom and Dignity Conference Saturday in Ramallah.

Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe told the forum peace cannot be accomplished as long as Israel incarcerates Palestinians.

European Parliament Vice President Isabella Durant said Israel must be held accountable for holding prisoners under administrative detention, the agency said.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in a recorded speech that Israel must halt all settlement construction and noted the importance of raising the Palestinian prisoner issue in future peace talks.

The Palestinian prisoners association Addameer estimates 4,900 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons.

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