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Israeli forces detain freed pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoner

Sept. 28, 2014 10:59 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 29, 2014 2:52 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday evening detained a Palestinian prisoner released from Israeli custody in 2013 as part of a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume long-stalled peace talks, according to a prisoners rights group.

A statement from the Palestinian Prisoner's Society said that Israeli troops detained Mustafa al-Hajj from Bruqin in the northern West Bank at a checkpoint while he was on his way back to the village.

Al-Hajj, who had been serving life time imprisonment, was released in Sept. 2013 after serving 24 years in Israeli jail.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Al-Hajj attained his freedom as part of an agreement that Israel would release 104 veteran Palestinian prisoners who had been in custody since before the 1993 Oslo Accords as part of a plan to resume peace negotiations after talks were halted for more than two years.

Israel eventually reneged on the agreement and refused to release the final of four groups of prisoners unless the Palestinian Authority agreed to an extension in peace talks, which Palestinian officials refused to do given Israel's continued expansion of settlements and refusal to offer concessions.

Palestinian officials have criticized Israel in recent months for arresting large numbers of prisoners freed as part of previous deals, especially the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange that freed more than 1,000.

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