Over 800,000 Palestinians Imprisoned by Israel Since 1967, Says Erekat

Currently, 5,224 in jails as Prisoners Day marked in territories.

Palestinian prisoners at Israel's Megiddo Prison.
Itzik Ben-Malki

Israel has imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians since conquering the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Six Day War, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported Thursday, as Prisoners Day was marked in the territories.

"For Palestinians, having loved ones in prison is not the exception - it is something which has affected every Palestinian family," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. "The numbers reflect one of the worst experiences of imprisonment in contemporary history, designed to break the will of an entire nation seeking freedom."

Prisoners Day comes as the issue of releasing Palestinian convicts stands at the heart of the crisis in the peace talks.

Currently, 5,224 Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli jails, Erekat continued. They include 11 parliamentarians, notably Marwan Barghouti, convicted of involvement in terror attacks, and Ahmed Saadat, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, convicted of involvement in the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi.