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Abbas contacts prisoner deported to Gaza

April 24, 2010 7:20 P.M. (Updated: April 25, 2010 9:29 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – President Mahmoud Abbas spoke with a former Palestinian prisoner on Saturday who was deported to Gaza by Israeli authorities, after completing his sentence.

Abbas told Ahmad As-Sabah that he would pressure Israel, through Europe and international organizations, to ensure Israel revokes two military orders allowing for the deportation of Palestinians broadly defined as infiltrators.

The Fatah leader further told the deported prisoner that he would guarantee his safe return to his family living in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

As-Sabbah arrived at the Erez crossing on 21 April 2010, where he has held a sit-in vigil since protesting his deportation.

The de facto government in the coastal enclave refused to admit the 36-year-old Tulkarem native, who was thus stranded at the border area. He has called on international and humanitarian rights organizations to have him returned to the West Bank so he can be with his wife and family.

The deportation followed the approval of new military orders to expel Palestinians living in the West Bank without certain ID cards.

As-Sabbah's family was waiting at the Al-Thahriyah crossing to receive their son after 10 years behind bars, but were surprised when Israeli authorities delivered the news that he had already been deported to Gaza.

Sabbah said the "discriminatory and harsh" decision was intended to further punish detainees and their parents. "There is a real war against detainees," the former prisoner told Ma'an over the phone from Gaza.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Abdul Rahman Zeidan condemned the deportation.

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