Israeli Nobel Laureate calls for release of all Hamas prisoners

By Haaretz Service and Army Radio, Haaretz, Oct. 10, 2009

Israeli Nobel Prize for chemistry laureate Professor Ada Yonath on Saturday said all Hamas prisoners held in Israel should be released in order to bring Gilad Shalit home.

"I don't understand why we incarcerate them in Israel in the first place," the professor told Army Radio Saturday.

She added that "all prisoners should be returned to Palestine regardless of a deal for Gilad Shalit's release."

Yonath was interviewed on the weekly Saturday radio show about her thoughts in general regarding the Middle East conflict and called for a "change in the status quo." She said that holding Palestinians captive encourages and perpetuates their motivation to harm Israel and its citizens.

"If we hold Palestinian prisoners captive for years on end, their familys' resentment for Israel will grow and we are actively creating terrorists," the Nobel Laureate suggested.

She also said that if we cease from incarcerating Palestinians it will end soldier abductions. "Once we don't have any prisoners to release they will have no reason to kidnap soldiers."

Yonath described many Palestinian lives as having "no hope for the future," and said that "in a state of such despair they have every reason to jump at the opportunity to better their prospects for a better afterlife."

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