An Israeli committee on Tuesday rejected an appeal to release the oldest Palestinian prisoner, Fouad Shobaki, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison, of which eight months remain, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported.
The Israeli early release committee is specialized in examining requests for the release of Palestinians or Israelis detainees who have completed two-thirds of their sentences, whether the request is related to health or other reasons.
PPS said in a statement carried by Reuters that Al-Shobaki suffers from prostate cancer, a disease in his eyes and stomach, a heart disease and also from high blood pressure.
Following its refusal to release Al-Shobaki, the Israeli committee has not released a statement explaining the reason behind its decision.
Qaddura Fares, head of PPS, said that despite the age and health conditions of Al-Shobaki, the committee insists on continuing to keep him in prison.
“Again, Israel proves to be an apartheid state. At the time when it releases Israeli prisoners under the so-called two-third-term law, it refuses to release al-Shobaki, who is over 83,” Fares said.
Shobaki, from the Gaza Strip, is the eldest Palestinian political prisoner in Israeli detention, and was detained in 2006 and sentenced for 20 years in prison for his role in the failed attempt to smuggle the Karen A weapons ship from Iran into the Gaza Strip in 2002.
The sentence was then shortened to 17 years in 2015 after several appeals were made considering his current health conditions and age.
The Karen A shipment was considered one of the main reasons for the siege of the headquarters of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on March 28, 2002, for 35 days.
Secretary-General of the Popular Front, Ahmed Saadat and a group of Palestinians accused of killing Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, were also present at the headquarters.
At the time, Arafat refused to hand over Al-Shobaki and his companions to the Israeli side, until an agreement was reached under the auspices of the United States and Britain.
The agreement stipulated that Al-Shobaki, Saadat, and the group accused of killing the Israeli minister would be transferred to Jericho Prison, provided that they would be under US-British guard.
However, Israel attacked the prison in 2006 after the sudden withdrawal of US and British forces from it, and arrested Al-Shobaki and the other prisoners.