Israel releases longest-serving Palestinian prisoner

The longest-serv­ing Pales­tin­ian pris­on­er held by Israel has been released after serv­ing 40 years.

Karim You­nis was con­vict­ed in 1983 of kid­nap­ping and killing Israeli sol­dier Avi Blomberg three years ear­li­er in the occu­pied Golan Heights.

Dur­ing his impris­on­ment, he became a promi­nent fig­ure, writ­ing polit­i­cal works and call­ing for a pact with Israel.

You­nis holds Israeli cit­i­zen­ship, but Israel’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter has asked for it to be revoked.

Aye Deli told the ombuds­man that it would send an impor­tant mes­sage to those who have “become a sym­bol for com­mit­ting the crim­i­nal act of terrorism”.

Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Abbas said Eunice “is a stead­fast sym­bol of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple and of the free peo­ple of the world”.

Israeli media report­ed that You­nis was released ear­ly Thurs­day in the cen­tral Israeli town of Raana with­out his fam­i­ly being noti­fied to avoid celebrations.

He was then received by his fam­i­ly and friends in his home­town of Ara, in north­ern Israel, while police are mon­i­tor­ing his recep­tion on the orders of Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Ita­mar Bengwir.

Beng­wir tweet­ed that until the new right-wing gov­ern­ment pass­es a law impos­ing the death penal­ty on ter­ror­ists, they will be released from prison only in a “humil­i­at­ing” manner.

“It’s been 40 years full of sto­ries,” Eunice said, with black and white kefir wrapped around her shoulders.

“I am very proud to be one of those who sac­ri­ficed for Palestine.”

Before his release, Eunice wrote that he felt sor­ry for the Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers he was leav­ing in prison. Among them is his cousin Maher You­nis, who was con­vict­ed of the same kid­nap­ping and mur­der and is expect­ed to be released lat­er this month.

Avi Bromberg’s sis­ter, Ada, told Israel Hay­om on Tues­day: “I can’t imag­ine peo­ple like this walk­ing among us, laugh­ing and hav­ing fun.”

Abbas declared that releas­ing Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers from Israeli pris­ons was “the cause of the whole Pales­tin­ian people.”

Accord­ing to the Pales­tin­ian human rights group Addameer, there are about 4,700 pris­on­ers in Israeli pris­ons and deten­tion cen­ters. Among them are 150 minors and 835 admin­is­tra­tive detainees who have not been charged or tried.

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