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Jailbreak from Israeli prison shakes up Palestinian public

The escape of six Palestinians from a maximum security Israeli prison jolted observers.
A relative of Mahmud al-Ardeh, one of six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel's Gilboa prison, stands next to a banner showing him (L) and another prisoner, Raddad al-Ardeh, by his home in the village of Arabah, south of Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Sept. 8, 2021.

The Palestinian situation was dire in many ways. The new Israeli coalition government made it clear it was not going to have any diplomatic talks with the Palestinians. In fact, the high-level meeting that the Israeli government agreed to between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah was in fact held in the nearby Civil Administration military compound, a few miles from Abbas’ home and from headquarters of the Palestinian presidency, known as the Muqata.

The short 11-day duel between Israel and Hamas had produced no concrete results, as Israel has insisted on regaining its prisoners and the bodies of soldiers held by Hamas. With little development bridging the gap between both sides, the situation for the blockaded Gazans looked dire, too. Palestinians were also angry with their own leadership, whom they blame for not engaging with the people and for canceling national elections that were long overdue anyway. Even the little freedom of expression and assembly that Palestinians had often boasted about was being curtailed as the security-minded Abbas leadership was not having any of the public protests against their actions, one of which had caused the death of a Palestinian critic while in the hands of their own security officers.

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