9:18 pm ET, November 24, 2023
Freed Palestinian prisoners celebrate their return to the West Bank
From CNN’s Celine Alkaldi, Nada Bashir and Shirin Zia Fakhiri
Palestinians freed from Israeli prisons were met with celebrations on Friday evening as they returned to their hometowns and villages in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In videos obtained by CNN, released prisoners can be seen marching through the streets carrying the Palestinian flag and the flag of Hamas on their shoulders.
Twenty-two women and two girls were among those released. Fifteen teenage boys aged up to 18 were also released – the youngest being 14.
Jaber Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images
Why they were jailed: Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have few more pressing issues than the issue of prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Some are serving sentences for attacks on Israelis, and many others are being held in administrative detention, a widely criticized practice that sees people detained without knowledge of the charges against them and without any legal proceedings.
Aziel El-Titi, a 23-year-old prisoner who was released on Friday, told CNN that he learned he was being released that morning. But he said his joy was tempered by learning what was happening in Gaza.
“Our joy is incomplete. There are martyrs because of the situation in Gaza. The number of martyrs in Gaza has exceeded the number of prisoners. [in Israeli jails]” said El-Titi.
“Despite this, the Palestinian people are determined, and Hamas is trying to release all prisoners and end the occupation,” he said.
Wael Ahmed, standing at the Beituniya crossing in the occupied West Bank where prisoners were driven out after their release, told CNN it was difficult to celebrate the killing of so many in Gaza.
“This celebration is wrong and I am torn to pieces,” Ahmed said.
More releases to come: According to an agreement between Israel and Hamas, the prisoners will be released in three days.
For Hamas, securing the freedom of 150 imprisoned Palestinians represents an opportunity to burnish its credentials in the West Bank as the flag bearer of Palestinian resistance.
WATCH: A Palestinian Arrested at 16 The video shows him reuniting with his mother after 10 years.