Israel freed 398 Palestinians in a gesture to moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, giving rise to emotional reunions with relatives and comrades near Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and Gaza where handovers took place.
Ten armed members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Abbas's Fatah movement, mobbed Aqra as he got off a bus at Gaza's Erez crossing with Israel after serving 2 1/2 years of a 4-year sentence for militant activity.
'Freedom is precious but our happiness will never be complete until all (8,000) of our brothers suffering in jails of the (Israeli) occupation are freed,' al-Aqra, 38, said.
'If Israel really wants peace, they must free all of us, especially those in prison for more than 20 or 30 years,' he added, echoing a collective grievance of Palestinians over jailed compatriots they see as heroes fighting occupation.
Yeah, if Israel wants peace, all it has to do is free every terrorist who wants to destroy it. And go back to the Green Line. And allow 8 million Palestinians to move to Israel. And give them all of Jerusalem. And kick out all the Jews.