Palestinian prisoner society calls for firing Habbash from his post

[ 08/11/2010 – 11:19 AM ]


RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Palestinian prisoner society called on de facto president Mahmoud Abbas to remove his minister of religious affairs Mahmoud Habbash from his post after he expunged 200 names of relatives of martyrs and prisoners from the list invited by the Saudi king to go on pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makka under his hospitality.

In a news conference on Sunday, head of the society Qaddura Faris denounced Habbash for claiming that these names were delisted at the request of Saudi Arabia and that what happened was just a technical mistake that would be addressed later.

He affirmed that what happened was intentional and not just a coincidence.

Different Palestinian figures and institutions also slammed what is known as Habbash scandal.

Senior Fatah official and director of Jerusalem file Hatem Abdelqader expressed his dismay at Habbash’s decision to exclude more than 200 pilgrims from Jerusalem and the 1948 occupied lands from the list of names invited to perform Hajj after they were earlier informed that their names were on the list of pilgrims who would leave to Makka.

Abdelqader said this decision caused a state of frustration and anger among the families of prisoners and martyrs, especially after they had finished all preparations for their departure for Saudi Arabia.

Head of Ansar Al-Sajeen society Munir Mansour stated that what Habbash did would perpetuate the policy of exclusion and marginalization pursued against the Palestinians in the 1948 occupied lands.

Senior leader of prisoners in Israeli jails Ahmed Abu Sukkar called on all Palestinian factions to pressure Abbas to dismiss Habbash from his job and holding him accountable for what he did.

More than 200 pilgrims, relatives of detainees, ex-detainees and martyrs from Jerusalem and the 1948 occupied lands, were supposed to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj rituals after all their travel documents were processed, but they were surprised to hear that Habbash ordered their names to be replaced with other names of people he already selected.

In this regard, the follow-up committee for prisoners affiliated with the higher follow-up committee for Arab affairs in the 1948 occupied lands in cooperation with the association of Arab prisoners and the commission on Jerusalem prisoners held a news conference on Saturday evening in the Plaza hotel in Nazareth city.

Representatives of the Arabs in the 1948 occupied lands strongly denounced in the conference Habbash for depriving families of prisoners and martyrs from performing Hajj this year, affirming that the whole list was cancelled by him.

For their part, families of prisoners rallied on Sunday outside Al-Khalil mayor’s office to demand the Palestinian authority to redress the mistake done by Habbash and approve their travel to makka.

The families handed the mayor Kamel Hamdiya a protest letter in this regard.

In a related development, spokesman for the ministry of prisoners in Gaza Riyadh Al-Ashqar reported that the crisis of pilgrims ended after it was agreed to grant them visas from Jordan and facilitate their travel soon.

Spokesman Ashqar told the Palestinian information center (PIC) on Monday that the crisis was resolved after the ministry of prisoners exposed what Habbash did, affirming that the Saudi king intervened to end the problem.

He said that the pilgrims would travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and Wednesday at the latest.

Palestinian prisoner society calls for firing Habbash from his post.

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