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Palestinians welcome home prisoners to the West Bank in late night celebration

Israel/Palestine
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Released Palestinian prisoners with President Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqata, greeted by cheering family members and supporters, 14 August 2013. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Mahmoud is 16 and in a few minutes he will hug his father for the first time. They have never touched, at least not that Mahmoud can recall because for most of his life his father was incarcerated in an Israeli prison.

“I am the youngest son. I was only three or four years old when my father was arrested. I don’t even remember it.” During family visits a glass wall separated father and son, voices heard through telephone alone. But now that Sabih Abed Hammed Borhan is being released late Tuesday night, Mahmoud will finally have his first memory of a paternal embrace.

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Mahmoud (left) and Laif waiting for their father’s release.

Borhan is one of the 26 Palestinian prisoners benefiting from a “goodwill gesture” by Israeli officials as a prelude to direct peace negotiations. He and the eleven others were taken to Ofer prison just after 12 am on Wednesday morning. They were then transferred to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah for a raucous reunion. The remaining 14 were driven to the Gaza Strip via the Erez Crossing in white vans with thin strips of tinted glass for windows. Israeli officials said the nighttime release and dark windows were to prevent a repeat of the Shalit exchange photo-ops of Palestinians flashing the “V for victory” hand sign. For many Israelis the release is considered a free pass for those who convicted violent crimes.

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Parade of bagpipers preform moments before the released Palestinian prisoners arrive at the Muqata.
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Palestinians cheer in anticipation of their family member’s release from prison.

Before his 2001 arrest at a flying checkpoint in the West Bank on his way to work, Borhan had already served 13 years in prison. Most of his adult life was spent in a dingy cell away from his family. He’s done time in nearly every Israeli detention facility. In his first conviction, Borhan was given six life sentences. Then he was let out early in 1994 by yet another prisoner release timed with peace talks. But during the second Intifada he was re-arrested and under military order 186 his first sentence was reinstated alongside his latest conviction.

The opening six years were the toughest, though, said Borhan’s family. His mother and sister were denied visits that Israel grants to close relatives. Typically “first degree” family members can secure weekly permits to the prison from the International Committee for the Red Cross. But in Borhan’s case inexplicably both mother and sister were deemed not affable under the policy.

Still Mahmoud was able to make the five-hour trip from Kfar Ra’a near Jenin to gaze at his father through a transparent shell. From the age of four Mahmoud would go as often as he could, but after he turned 16, the visits stopped. “They do this a lot actually,” noted a representative from Addameer, a prisoners’ rights group, explaining at age 16 when Palestinians register for an ID card, entry into Israel becomes complicated. During Ramadan for example, children under 16 can enter Jerusalem on Fridays. But after 16, Palestinians have to file for permits, as an adult would, with adult permit rejection rates.

“The hope was there,” said Hanan Esmir, 46, Borhan’s sister. “We would always pray that he would get out.” Esmir last saw her brother six months ago. At the Muqata she sits with other women waiting on loved ones. A few seats away is Ikhlas Natsheh, 42, her sister who is preparing to greet both a husband and a brother.

Ikhlas’s husband Jamil Abdel Wahab Natsheh had one of the longest incarcerations of the group. He was arrested in 1991 for accessory to murder in the death of an IDF solider. He was part of the get-away car. For this he was sentenced to a steep penalty of over 20 years. Yet for the Israeli public the consensus is that Israel is letting murders and terrorists get off easy. Family members of deceased Israelis killed by Palestinians in this prisoner release petitioned against the “goodwill gestures.” They argued crimes were too grave and threat too great for early discharge. However, hours before the men were driven out of a detention facility in Ramle, Israel the High Court rejected the petition.

Although Natsheh’s family was elated, Ikhlas was quick to point out her husband was only four months away from completing his sentence anyway. In fact many of the prisoners released were a few years from finishing out their terms, casting doubt on the magnitude of the Israeli move which functioned as a replacement for the Palestinian demand of a stop to settlement construction in order to proceed with peace negotiations. In addition to the prisoner release, this week Israel also broke news on expanding settlements and even held a groundbreaking ceremony in occupied East Jerusalem.

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Released prisoner (right) hugs relative at a welcoming ceremony at the Muqata.
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Palestinians carry released prisoner through crowed to reunite the former detainee with his family.

Just before 1 am supporters and family members congregated towards a small podium at the edge of the Muqata. Social media updates indicated the white vans driving the men were already at Ofer prison, the transfer point from Israeli custody to Palestinian. Mahmoud Abbas then emerged from a door in the stone wall behind the platform, along with the released men. Everyone went wild and for a moment the president had a mandate from his people. “Abbas, Abbas!” was chanted as if the Palestinian leader himself had brokered the deal, rather than the Israeli Prime Minister’s office deciding all of the terms of the conditional release.

“Tell the released prisoners, and we tell you that the rest of the prisoners will come out. You are just the beginning and the rest will come,” said Abbas before being swept away in a convoy. After the prisoners who were on stage with him rushed down a small detachable staircase, they were lifted by crowds and literally carried towards their families. It was all tears and hugs. This was family reunification under occupation. Sure these men are called national heroes, and there were some flags for political parties, but mood was more personal: husband kissing wife, mother caressing child, and Mahmoud finally feeling his father’s skin against his.

Once the family members finished taking turns tightly holding the now freed men, friends and unknown supporters shook their hands and pressed their cheeks to one and another. Then just as they were carried into the crowd, the newly released were lifted again and carted to a metal detector exiting the Muqata. The whole event lasted about an hour.

All photographs are by the author on August 13-14, 2013.
 

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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73 Responses

  1. ramzijaber
    ramzijaber
    August 14, 2013, 2:15 pm

    President Abbas, where is Mr. Barghouti?

    • gingershot
      gingershot
      August 14, 2013, 6:50 pm

      That is precisely THE ONLY QUESTION

      The release of Barghouti is the end of Vichy-Palestine government of Abbas

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        August 15, 2013, 12:05 am

        Aah… – Marwan Barghouti — the poster boy for Western liberals keen on meddling in , and getting their (a) moral rocks off on other folks bloody , tragic , life-or-death conflicts.

        For those who wish to know more about Marwan Barghouti ;

        Israeli authorities have called Barghouti a terrorist, accusing him of directing numerous attacks, including suicide bombings, against civilian and military targets alike.[6]

        Barghouti was arrested by Israel Defense Forces in 2002 in Ramallah.[1] He was tried and convicted on charges of murder, and sentenced to five life sentences.

        However, he continued to stress that he supported armed resistance to the Israeli occupation, but condemned attacks on civilians inside Israel.

        Nonetheless, the evidence Israel presented at his trial stated that he supported and directed such attacks.[21]

        On 20 May 2004, he was convicted of 5 counts of murder – including authorizing and organizing the Seafood market attack in Tel Aviv in which 3 civilians inside Israel were killed.

        On 6 June 2004, he was sentenced to five life sentences for the five murders and 40 years imprisonment for the attempted murder.

        During his trial, Barghouti was found guilty of involvement in three attacks that killed a total of five people: a June 2001 attack in Ma’ale Adumim that killed a Greek monk, a January 2002 attack on a Givat Ze’ev gas station, the March 2002 Seafood market attack in Tel Aviv, and a car bombing in Jerusalem.[16]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwan_Bargouti

        Here is Marwan Barghouti pictured smiling with Ahmed Saadat of the PLPF and one Samir Kuntar..

        http://www.israellycool.com/2008/06/17/suffer-the-prisoners/

        And just WHO IS Samir Kuntar with whom Marwan Barghouti is pictured , smiling away ?

        (You can read some more about him here)

        http://www.israellycool.com/2003/11/10/portrait-of-a-monster

        Samir Kuntar is a Lebanese Druze former member of the Palestine Liberation Front.
        On April 22, 1979, at the age of 16, he participated in the attempted kidnapping of an Israeli family in Nahariya that resulted in the deaths of four Israelis and two of his fellow kidnappers.[1]
        Kuntar and his team broke into an apartment building and kidnapped a young father, 31-year-old Danny Haran, and his 4-year-old daughter, Einat, taking them to a nearby beach.
        Kuntar was found guilty of murdering Haran in front of Einat, then turning to the child and crushing her skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle.[2]
        He was also convicted of indirectly causing the death of two-year-old Yael Haran by suffocation, as her mother, Smadar, tried to quiet her crying while hiding from Kuntar.[3]
        In 1980 Kuntar was sentenced to four life sentences.[3]
        Immediately after his arrest, Kuntar admitted to the killings,[4] but at his sentence and thereafter he denied killing the father and daughter, saying that they had been killed by security forces in the ensuing gun battle.
        He did admit to taking them hostage and killing Eliyahu Shahar, however.[5][6]
        An eyewitness testified to having seen Kuntar shoot Danny Haran, and forensic evidence presented at his trial showed that Einat’s brain tissue was found on his rifle.[7]
        He spent nearly three decades in prison before being released on July 16, 2008 as part of an Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap..

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

        Bizarrely , – Al – Jazeera chose to throw Kuntar a party celebrating the child killers release – for which tasteless , tactless exhibition , Al Jazeera later apologised..

        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8b0_1216810555r

        http://infidelsarecool.com/2008/07/video-al-jazeera-throws-birthday-bash-for-freed-hezbollah-baby-killer/

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/al-jazeera-apologizes-for-unethical-coverage-of-kuntar-release-1.251249

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 15, 2013, 6:58 am

        “Israeli authorities” have called Barghouti a terrorist, accusing him of directing numerous attacks, including suicide bombings, against civilian and military targets alike.[6]MI6

        Israeli Authorities, Bastion of truth and humanity and morality.

        Really, Miriam, you may be sufficiently gullible to consume this well baked trollope, but you are in a minority.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 15, 2013, 7:15 am

        For those who wish to know more about Marwan Barghouti ;

        Israeli authorities have called Barghouti a terrorist, accusing him of directing numerous attacks, including suicide bombings, against civilian and military targets alike

        Nobody takes Israeli authorities seriously when it comes to charges against enemy political leaders. See:

        *Evidence undermines gov’t’s claim that terrorists were Gazans
        link to 972mag.com
        *IDF mum on Eilat attacks that justified Gaza bombing
        link to 972mag.com
        *Escalation in south: IDF takes summer Gaza spin out for 2nd round
        link to 972mag.com

        South African authorities charged Mandela and 11 others with the same sort of crimes. If you want to discuss people who have directed numerous attacks that killed civilians and military alike, then you’d have no trouble including people like LeMay, McNamara, Begin, Shamir, Sharon, Rabin, and a whole lot of others who either spent very little or no time behind bars at all.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 15, 2013, 7:40 am

        >> Israeli authorities have called Barghouti a terrorist …

        The cauldron calls the teacup ‘black’.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 15, 2013, 9:27 am

        Thank you miriam6,

        could you please also tell us something about Menachem Begin and Yitzahk Shamir and their “gangs” and what became of them? And about the Herut “party” which was founded by Begin and other members of his “gang” and who the political descendent of this “party” is?

      • tree
        tree
        August 16, 2013, 3:12 am

        More on Samir Kuntar from a former Israeli secret police officer and psychologist, Dr. Zvi Sela, first printed in Haaretz in 2009, who believes Kuntar is innocent:

        You also met with Samir Kuntar of the Palestine Liberation Front, who murdered members of the Haran family in Nahariya and was released as part of the deal with Hezbollah that brought back the bodies of the two abducted soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

        “We turned Kuntar into God-knows-what – the murderer of Danny Haran and his daughter, Einat. The man who smashed in the girl’s head. That’s nonsense. A story. A fairy tale. He told me he didn’t do it and I believe him. I investigated the event within the framework of the next book I am writing, about hostage-taking incidents. As far as I am concerned, it was no more than a newspaper report. I sat with him; he was very intelligent. He was a squad commander at 17. He told me that his motive for infiltrating Nahariya was to take hostages. He said [his organization] knew that would both humiliate Israel and get them media publicity.

        “He told me: ‘If I had wanted to kill Danny and his daughter, I would have shot them in the house. I took them to the boat because I wanted hostages. I had no interest in hurting them. After I got them into the boat, wild gunfire started and I went back to help my squad on the shore. Danny, the father, kept shouting, “Stop firing, you crazy people.” He and his daughter were found shot in the boat. I was on a small rise, shooting at your forces, and the boat was 20 meters away in the water, with Danny and the girl.'”

        So you say that Kuntar did not murder Haran and his daughter?

        “That is what he says, and in my opinion there is support for the fact that they were killed by fire from the Israeli rescue forces. You can accuse him all you like, but it was obviously the rescue forces that opened fire. There were all kinds of legends about Kuntar. People also said that he would return to being a terrorist [after his release]. Nonsense. He told me then explicitly that he would not go back to terrorism, that he was too old to execute operations – and that’s also clear. For the same reason, I see no problem in releasing terrorists with blood on their hands in return for [kidnapped soldier] Gilad Shalit. I get the feeling the country is waiting for his body.

        “It is clear to me,” Sela continues, “that there are some battles you have to back away from. There is no reason to kill that kid, to wait for his body. One way or the other, we will not come out the victors in the Shalit story. From my experience, most of the terrorists that we release do not return to terrorist activity. And the prisoners we are quarreling over in connection with Shalit’s release do not constitute a strategic threat to Israel – only a blow to the ego of our leaders.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/israel-could-have-made-peace-with-hamas-under-yassin-1.274217

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        August 16, 2013, 9:37 pm

        [email protected]:

        I don’t buy Sela’s claim that Kuntar is innocent.

        It won’t wash with me.

        In the first place Kuntar and his accomplices CHOSE to abduct CIVILIANS as hostages.

        If Kuntar had spared civilians the fate of stealing them away as soon -to -be -dead hostages ,and had instead attacked a MILITARY target then perhaps, – fair enough.

        But he CHOSE to ABDUCT two civilians thus placing them BOTH in danger, thus making himself completely culpable for their deaths

        From the moment he and his gang of thugs broke into the Haran’s home he was culpable also of the death of the Haran’s youngest child and from the moment he seized Danny and Einat Haran as so -called hostages he was responsible for their lives.

        That holds true either way whether OR NOT Kuntar administered the fatal blows/bullets to Einat and Danny Haran

        Kuntar did not distinguish between military targets and civilian regarding them both as fair game

        In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV and Al-Jadid/New TV, which aired July 26, 2008 (as translated by the MEMRI), Kuntar stated that:

        “To be honest, our operation had both civilian and military targets. Today, tomorrow, and the next day – our targets are always… There are no civilian targets – it’s “civilian” in quotation marks.

        The Zionists themselves define the Israeli as a soldier who is on leave for 11 months every year.”[49]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar.

        Presumably Kuntar regards a four year old child as an enemy combatant.

        Explain just why on earth would Kuntar abduct a four year old child as a supposed hostage in the first place?

        How DO YOU justify that ?

        Explain why it was the case that Kuntar initially ADMITTED that he bludgeoned Einat to death?

        Try explaining away exactly HOW Einat Haran’s brain tissue came to be on the butt of Kuntar’s rifle?

        Or the pathologists’ report that Einat’s fatal injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma to the child’s head?

        A doctor testified that Haran’s daughter had died from “a blow from a blunt instrument, like a club or rifle butt.”

        The judges ruled that Kuntar had hit Einat Haran twice on the head with the butt of his gun and that an associate, Ahmad al Abrass, had hit her on the head, the blows killing her.[22]

        Evidence presented by the pathologist at the trial showed that Einat Haran was killed by the force of a blunt instrument — most likely a rifle butt.

        The pathologist’s report also showed that Einat’s brain tissue was found on Kuntar’s rifle.[19 ]

        An eyewitness testified to having seen Kuntar shoot Danny Haran, and forensic evidence presented at his trial showed that Einat’s brain tissue was found on his rifle.[7]

        According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kuntar had initially admitted to bludgeoning Einat to death after being captured,[4] but at his trial, and consistently thereafter, he denied killing the 4-year-old.[23]”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

        Dr Sela is evidently in a minority with his claim of Kuntar’s innocence

        Explain why Al -Jazeera’s director would issue an apology if it were not the case that most observers/ experts believe and accept Kuntar is guilty?

        Why would THIS Arabic Lebanese writer write this article admonishing and condemning those celebrating Kuntar’s suppose heroism ?

        On July 19, 2008, Al Jazeera TV broadcast a program from Lebanon that covered the “welcome-home” festivities for Samir Kuntar.

        In the program, the head of Al Jazeera’s Beirut office, Ghassan bin Jiddo, lavished praise on Kuntar by calling him a “pan-Arab hero” and organized a birthday party for him.

        In response, Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) threatened to boycott the satellite channel unless it apologized.

        A few days later an official letter was issued by Al Jazeera’s director general, Khanfar Wadah, in which he admitted that the program violated the station’s Code of Ethics and that he had ordered the channel’s programming director to take steps to ensure that such an incident does not recur.[41][42][49]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

        By: Elias Bejjani Beirut-

        It is really sad, shocking and shameful when a convicted murderer is decorated as a hero…
        cont.

        ….In the eyes of the majority of the Lebanese people Samir Kuntar is a mere convicted murderer and not a hero.

        http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2008/07/samir_kuntar_is.php

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 17, 2013, 9:37 am

        Presumably Kuntar regards a four year old child as an enemy combatant.

        So does the IDF.
        http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/16396

        Explain just why on earth would Kuntar abduct a four year old child as a supposed hostage in the first place?

        How DO YOU justify that ?

        How does Israel justify it?

        Explain why it was the case that Kuntar initially ADMITTED that he bludgeoned Einat to death?

        Torture is very effective at extracting such confessions and Israel is known for, including the toreture of children.
        http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/UN-Israel-tortures-detained-Palestinian-children-317210

        It is really sad, shocking and shameful when a convicted murderer is decorated as a hero…

        Israel has always revered murderers and terrorists. It even elected 2 convicted terrorists to the office of prime minister. In fact Shamir was honored for being one of the most important figures in Israel’s history – but we won’t hear a peep of condemnation from you about that. They even created a stamp in his honor.
        http://beforeitsnews.com/middle-east/2013/06/pm-netanyahu-unveils-yitzhak-shamir-commemorative-stamp-2452248.html

        http://www.israelnewsagency.com/yitzhakshamirisraelherohistoryfunerallehiidfmossadiraqnetanyahuprimeministerjewish48050712.html
        You really need to remove that plank from your own eye before you complain about the splinter in anyone else’s Miriam.

      • tree
        tree
        August 17, 2013, 5:52 pm

        Miriam,

        I wouldn’t expect you to believe the psychologist. Its counter to your bias, and counter to other testimony, so why would you believe it? And I am not justifying anything, rather I am pointing out that your viewpoint is not the only possible valid one in this case.

        My point in posting it was to point out that it is just as logical for someone, in this case a Israeli psychologist who had know him for years after the fact, to believe that Kuntar was innocent of the death of Haran and his daughter, and that Kuntar himself professed his innocent on those counts. So for someone to congratulate Kuntar on his release from prison after serving 29 years does not necessarily mean that they are celebrating the death of a 4 year old, as you wish to imply.

        As to why Kuntar “confessed at first”, according to an interview he gave he an Israeli reporter

        “What happened to the girl? During the interrogation they told me, ‘You must admit that you wounded the girl with your rifle.’ I told them, ‘Write whatever you want.’ I did not see anything and I did not hear anything. It was total chaos there. I was focused on the goal. I don’t mind admitting to things that I did. I don’t want to admit to things that I did not do.”

        The long interview with Kuntar, by an Israeli journalist for Maariv, who was not sympathetic to Kuntar, has been translated to English here:

        http://lisagoldman.net/2008/07/22/samir-kuntar-in-his-own-words/

        My own guess is that Kuntar is telling the truth as far as his denial of killing Danny and Einat Haran goes. Israel is well known for pressuring Arab detainees into signing confessions in Hebrew that they don’t understand. Logically, it makes no sense for Kuntar, under fire from Israeli forces, to kill the only two possible “bargaining chips” he had that might have saved his own life and that of his compatriots, especially if, as is alleged, the Israeli forces halted firing when Haran asked them to stop. And, in addition, killing Einat with a rifle butt instead of a shot to the head makes no sense either. Granted, people don’t always act rationally or logically, but it seems much more likely to me that the Israeli forces, in the confusion, ended up killing Haran and his daughter, as well as Kuntar’s compatriots, but in the aftermath covered that up, so as not to face heavy criticism for their recklessness. The two Harans were dead, and accepting some responsibility for their death would not have brought them back, while placing the sole blame on Kuntar would allow the Israeli government to further demonize Palestinians as “cold-blooded murderers of children”. It was a win-win for the Israeli authorities to blame Kuntar. On the other hand, if Kuntar simply wanted to kill Israeli children he could have easily done that in the apartment and would have been much more likely to have escaped unscathed if he had. Its obvious that, as he said, he wanted live hostages, not dead children.

        I’m well aware you won’t agree with my guess on what really happened, but it is no less logical than your guess, and I think in fact it is quite a bit more logical. My point.

        I agree with your point that he does bear some blame for the child’s death because of his actions in abducting the father and child, but he spent 28 years in prison for that prior to his release.

        As I mentioned elsewhere, I think its important to compare the length of his sentence to the usual sentence for murder in Israel. As I mentioned, an Israeli convicted of murder usually is given a life sentence, which is then commuted to 30 years in prison, with the possibility for parole in 20 years, for good behavior in prison. My point here is that Kuntar, like the recently released Palestinian prisoners, did not get any great concession from Israel for being released after serving 28 years. Had he been Israeli he most likely would have been released years earlier.

        You and I might disagree with the sentencing structure in Israel when it comes to murder. It is much more likely in the US to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, but that is not the case in Israeli law, and Kuntar’s release date, had he been Israeli, would have been well within the Israeli societal norm.

        I mentioned Samuel Sheinbein, who at 17 (the same age as Kuntar at the time of his killings), executed a particularly gruesome murder in the US, as “practice” for another later intended murder, and eventually was tried in Israel and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He is eligible for parole after 16 years in prison. In the meantime, according to the Washington Post:

        Sheinbein, 27, is housed in a maximum-security prison near the city of Ramla, said Yaron Zamir, spokesman for the Israel Prison Service. An Israeli court sentenced Sheinbein to 24 years after he pleaded guilty in 1999 to Tello’s murder.

        In Maryland, he would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. In Israel, he has had three 12-hour furloughs, which is customary for inmates who have served part of their sentence, Zamir said. Those hufshas (Hebrew for “vacations”) will extend to 24 hours and then 48 hours as Sheinbein serves more time and continues good behavior, Zamir said. Sheinbein must post bail while out, but Zamir did not know whether he faces other restrictions.

        Sheinbein, who has had no behavior problems in prison, is eligible for parole in six years, Zamir said. Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy, who helped prosecute the case, called that possibility “terrifying.”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/28/AR2007092801973.html

        There is nothing that is unique about this furlough system. Many Israeli murderers as well as other Israeli prisoners have taken part in them, including Ami Popper, who gunned down 7 Palestinian workers in cold blood, and who had his 7 life sentences commuted to forty years, with eligibility for parole at 33 years. Palestinian prisoners, however, do not get to partake in any furlough system, regardless of their crimes or their behavior in prison.

        So obviously you are moaning and wailing when Palestinian prisoners, even if they are murders, get released after the exact same amount of time, or even greater amount of prison time, as Israeli murderers serve. It seems to me that you are simply using the release of Palestinian prisoners as a way to demonize Palestinians, and falsely suggest that Israel is making some great sacrifice in releasing them. I disagree.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 17, 2013, 11:31 pm

        [email protected]:

        I don’t buy Sela’s claim that Kuntar is innocent.

        It won’t wash with me.

        In the first place Kuntar and his accomplices CHOSE to abduct CIVILIANS as hostages.

        The State of Israel itself admittedly still had an official policy of abducting civilian hostages from the neighboring state of Lebanon, in violation of Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention, and retaining them for use as bargaining chips. See the Supreme Court decision in John Does v. Ministry of Defence CrimFH 7048/97 http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/97/480/070/a09/97070480.a09.htm

        FYI: the overwhelming majority of countries have accepted the principle that “Reprisals” are now prohibited by the customary law reflected in the 1st Additional Protocol and that tu quoque arguments that “the other guy started it” are no longer a valid criminal defense. See:
        *The prohibition of reprisals in Protocol I:Greater protection for war victims
        http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/57jnv7.htm
        *Sienho Yee, The Tu Quoque Argument as a Defence to International Crimes, Prosecution or Punishment, 3 Chinese JIL (2004), 87 http://ssrn.com/abstract=2028215

        Some countries, including Israel, still adhere to the old Principle of conducting Reprisals, whereby the parties to a conflict can respond to illegal or forbidden acts committed by their enemies with illegal or forbidden acts of their own. That inevitably leads to an escalation of “tit for tat” reprisals or illegal acts. In this case, the reprisals have been going on for 60 years and both sides claim the other started resorting to war crimes first.

        But it never has been legal to take reprisals against enemy civilians in an occupied territory. Here is what the US Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations (2007) says about Reprisal (6.2.4):

        A belligerent reprisal is an enforcement measure under the law of armed conflict consisting of an act that would otherwise be unlawful but which is justified as a response to the previous unlawful acts of an enemy. The sole purpose of a reprisal is to induce the enemy to cease its illegal activity and to comply with the law of armed conflict in the future. Reprisals may be taken against enemy armed forces, enemy civilians other than those in occupied territory, and enemy property.

    • OlegR
      OlegR
      August 14, 2013, 7:12 pm

      Rotting in jail where he belongs.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        August 15, 2013, 12:00 am

        It is Israel rotting from the inside out

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 17, 2013, 9:31 am

        Rotting in jail where he belongs.

        That’s what the British said about Ghandi or what the apartheid South African governmetn said about Mandela.

        The only reason he is in jail is because he is a potential legitimate leader. He managed to pull a huge percentage of the vote even thought the Israelis took him out of the race.

  2. annie
    annie
    August 14, 2013, 4:33 pm

    what a special report. it must have been magical being there. all those loved one after so many years.

    • OlegR
      OlegR
      August 14, 2013, 7:13 pm

      Yes all those loved ones.
      That are never coming back to their families.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        August 14, 2013, 10:23 pm

        For every 1 Israeli killed by Palestinian action Israel kills at least 10 Palestinian children. And all to steal land and resources. Greedy child murdering thieves.

        You want to talk about loved ones…?

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        August 15, 2013, 12:12 am

        Good spot – on comments Oleg.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 15, 2013, 8:02 am

        Good spot – on comments Oleg.

        Except neither one of you can explain why Palestinian terrorists, who have been in jail since at least 1993, are so much worse than Jewish terrorists with much higher civilian body counts. That’s particularly true of a number of your leaders who never spent a day in jail for directing those sort of operations.

        Maybe that’s why Israeli governments have always done these prisoner releases without making a big fuss over it? What other countries actually have laws on the books about the use of prisoners as bargaining chips, beside Israel?

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 15, 2013, 9:52 am

        Yes Miriam,

        Jonin together with Oleg to ignore the ten times as many civilians who suffered the same fete.

        You racist supremacists really know how to test one’s gag reflex.

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        August 16, 2013, 1:07 am

        That’s particularly true of a number of your leaders who never spent a day in jail for directing those sort of operations.

        Tell me Hostage , how many of YOUR country’s leaders have spent a day in jail for America’s many wars and massacres ?

        Let’s start with those responsible for the My Lai massacre and continue on.

        The list is a very long one…

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 16, 2013, 4:28 pm

        Tell me Hostage , how many of YOUR country’s leaders have spent a day in jail for America’s many wars and massacres ?

        If they haven’t gone to jail yet, it isn’t because I’ve failed to speak-out against them right here at Mondoweiss, on Opinio Juris, EJIL Talk! and many other forums. Just check my comment archives and inform yourself on the subject.

        Let’s start with those responsible for the My Lai massacre and continue on.

        The list is a very long one…

        In case you didn’t know, the military did arrest and prosecute those responsible and the President and the Secretary of the Army paroled the commanding officer shortly after he was convicted. Nixon’s action prompted Prosecutor Aubrey Daniel to write a long and angry letter in which he told the President that “the greatest tragedy of all will be if political expediency dictates the compromise of such a fundamental moral principle as the inherent unlawfulness of the murder of innocent persons”. You can read all about that here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mylai/daniels_ltr.html

        You can also read about my criticism of Colin Powell’s mishandling of the original investigation into My Lai, back when he was a company grade officer in Viet Nam and my condemnation of his blasé attitude about murdering unarmed young men of military age in a collection of links here that also criticize Senators John Kerry and Bob Kerry over their behavior:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2011/05/netanyahu-has-nothing-to-worry-about.html#comment-321527
        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/where-kristol-vietnam.html#comment-530777
        See my comment about Powell and Obama’s signature strikes here:
        http://opiniojuris.org/2012/10/07/signature-strikes-everything-old-is-new-again/

        Comments on the President murdering citizens and discriminating against indigenous peoples:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/political-mobilization-occupation.html/comment-page-1#comment-534219
        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/baltzer-finkelstein-and-chomsky-to-speak-on-state-of-american-jews-re-jewish-state.html/comment-page-1#comment-498038

        So once again, just read the comment archives and educate yourself before you go shooting off your mouth.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 16, 2013, 4:30 pm

        So what miriam?

        Hostage isn’t defending rape/murder/torture/ethnic cleansing all in the name of Jewish colonialism.

        YOU ARE.

        You and other Jewish colonists support any evil to support your greed/theft of Palestine.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 15, 2013, 9:51 am

        Yes all those loved ones. That are never coming back to their families.

        There are ten times as many Palestinians never coming back t theirs, but they are sub human, so why mention then right Oleg?

  3. August 14, 2013, 5:11 pm

    A. Robbins, how about releasing this Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. You know – freedom fighter, just a young kid after all. His Mom, you know, suffers, she misses her “loved one” (put in quotation marks to show that it is taken from you comment).

    Yeah, what hypocracy! Calling terrorists “loved ones”! I will remember this and will publisized where I can.

    Moderator please post all my comments. They obey all your guiding lines and there is no reason to delay them for so long.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 14, 2013, 6:32 pm

      Nonsense. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a Chechen. A bunch of aliens from Boston didn’t invade Chechnya and steal it from its inhabitants, and continue to oppress and murder them for generations. If that were the case, and the population of Boston continuously voted again and again for goverments hell bent on continuing the murder, oppression and theft against the native population, then calling him a freedom fighter might be justified.

      But in Palestine, the land of the Palestinians was stolen and populated by a horde of foreigners who were alien to the land (including, to judge by some of our commenters) the dregs of the former USSR. For generations the ruling racist leaders have done everything it its power to ethnically cleanse the land of its rightful owners, the Palestinians. Those that fight against that zionist terror and that tyranny are freedom fighters.

    • tokyobk
      tokyobk
      August 14, 2013, 6:44 pm

      fnlevit,

      Here is the problem with your analogy and why it won’t help expose the idiocy of ersatz human rights workers shedding tears of joy for released killers.

      The Tsarnev brothers were welcomed by America and the city of Cambridge with love and support. They blew up innocent neighbors in a country that would have gladly had them as equal citizens.

      The legal system in the US has problems but it is not a group of people with legally enhanced rights judging a people with legally diminished rights.

      They are “loved ones.” Loved by their family and friends and by many in their nation who see them as Freedom Fighters. Go with that. Its actually more damning than denying they are “loved ones.”

      Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians so pro-Palestinians can use the same “rough neighborhood” and “this is war” excuses.

      Lastly, it imo is troubling that Israel releases prisoners (some of whom are quite proud of what they did — i.e. not claiming to be wrongly accused) rather than simply stopping construction of settlements which has symbolic and real meaning if there is to be somewhere out there a future Palestinian State. Many were about to be released anyway so it is a kind of crass move.

      As long as there is actual asymmetry on the ground such as above there will be legitimate cover for the anti-Israel side of Progressive-Except-Palestine.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 14, 2013, 7:12 pm

        >> Lastly, it imo is troubling that Israel releases prisoners … rather than simply stopping construction of settlements …

        Disappointing, but a shrewd way for the Zio-supremacist government of Israel to score points with “the rest of the world” and to create justification for future crack-downs.

        And there’s no need to worry about the reaction of Israelis: The first celebration by Palestinians turns Israeli dismay toward their government into disgust and hatred against Palestinians. Clock-work.

        Pity that the Palestinians couldn’t think to refuse the offer of the release and insist instead upon a freeze and dismantlement of settlements (for starters).

        Then again, I guess that just underscores the fact that Palestinians aren’t as good as Zio-supremacist Jews at hatefulness, immorality and injustice.

      • Yitzgood
        Yitzgood
        August 14, 2013, 11:53 pm

        Then again, I guess that just underscores the fact that Palestinians aren’t as good as Zio-supremacist Jews at hatefulness, immorality and injustice.

        Shouldn’t that be Zion-Supremacists? It’s Zion-ist, not Zio-nist.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 15, 2013, 7:26 am

        >> Shouldn’t that be Zion-Supremacists? It’s Zion-ist, not Zio-nist.

        Technically, perhaps. But I find that “Zio-supremacist” rolls off the tongue just a little more smoothly…

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 15, 2013, 10:19 am

        It’s Zion-ist, not Zio-nist. Yitzgood.

        No, Zio-mist would be more apt.

      • Yitzgood
        Yitzgood
        August 15, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Technically, perhaps. But I find that “Zio-supremacist” rolls off the tongue just a little more smoothly…

        So it’s a better slur?

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 16, 2013, 6:19 pm

        >> So it’s a better slur?

        It’s not a slur, it’s an accurate descriptor. But if it makes you feel better, I could use “Jewish supremacist” instead.

      • piotr
        piotr
        August 16, 2013, 6:50 pm

        For some reasons, Zio with n deleted is more insulting. In changes the etymology to Italian “zio”, uncle, from more exalted “Zion”. More importantly, it combines better as a prefix, try to indulge in zioncaine.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 14, 2013, 8:34 pm

        Tokyobk,

        Which one of the released prisoners are civilian-killers?

        Israel holds thousands of Palestinians prisoner, doesn’t it?

        It clearly can spend that political currency without losing anything.

        Releasing these prisoners poses little security threats.

        So tell me what it is about them that makes your blood boil.

        There is no reason not to be anti-Israel. Israel is a colonial-settler State. Palestinians being anti-Israel is a natural reaction to Jewish colonialism.

        Their land is stolen from them. Their water is stolen from them. They live under military occupation for decades. Their suffering is constant and they never get justice.

        When they use violence, it’s always called terrorism regardless of how that violence is used (terrorism or not). When Israel uses violence, it’s always called counter-terrorism, even when Israel is colonizing Palestinian land and abusing and killing Palestinian civilians through actions where the result of abuse/death of civilians is KNOWN.

        The rest of your post is garbage.

        You say you’re not a Zionist. This post proves you are.

        I haven’t seen you ONCE parse the comments of your ideological allies here on MW.

        You comment at anti-Zionists and ignore the stupid crap that yrn, hoppie, gilad-g, and other settlers write here everyday.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 15, 2013, 4:07 am

        Cliff — just read what I wrote again.

        Its not just a parse of the comment, its a complete rejection of the comment’s logic.

        No nationalist is my ideological ally.

        Its true I am for lots of reasons more interested in anti-Zionists than Zionists but not because I believe in a Jewish state on historic Palestine which last I checked is the definition of Zionism. But, you are welcome to believe what you want obviously and probably will just have to because your tone makes me not interested in explaining to you why what you think about me is actually totally wrong. Simply I said I was troubled, blood boiling is your image not mine. I am very aware of all the inequalities you mention and also the lack of symmetry in reactions when Israelis kill and imprison Palestinians.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 15, 2013, 4:43 am

        I will add this, though. I do believe in rule of law.
        So, am I an Islamist because I believe in rule of Law in Egypt, that the military cannot simply remove Morsi?
        America and Australia are colonial entities with rule of law over all their citizens, the ones that came of free will and the descendants of those conquered. Iran hangs gays but also has legitimate recourse against rapists and thieves.
        Israel is the sovereign entity from river to sea and has enclosed Gaza. This is a fact often denied by Zionists, by the way, who want wiggle room in the OT. So, I actually believe people that kill people should be arrested and put on trial and go to jail and I won’t celebrate their release if they are someone who has proudly admitted to killing. I do give wide room to the possibility of false and trumped up arrests of Palestinians. There is also the issue of war within the entity where both sides kill each other’s soldiers and civilians.
        The moral way to condemn Israel’s behavior is precisely within the Law, domestic and international, and that means accepting the fact that it exists as a political and legal entity.
        As for the nature of the actions of Israel’s imprisoned I never distinguished between citizen and soldier since it did not matter to my point but yes, one was released that murdered an elderly Israeli and one- two non soldiers.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 15, 2013, 5:31 am

        Tokyobk said:

        I will add this, though. I do believe in rule of law.

        The ‘rule of law’ implies that the law is always just.

        There are plenty of unjust laws in the countries you mentioned (historically and in the present).

        So saying you believe in the ‘rule of law’ is meaningless.

        Saying you believe murderers should stay in jail if they are proven to be murderers, is much better.

        And I agree with you on that.

        What I would like to know is, how many of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are civilian-killers/terrorists?

        How many are ‘agent provocateurs’ politically-speaking?

        I could care less about the latter.

        There is no parity in this conflict. Israeli soldiers and settlers abuse and kill Palestinian civilians with virtual immunity/relative immunity.

        So within THIS conflict and avoiding resorting to the hasbara tactic of changing the subject to Darfur/Sudan/Libya/Syria/China/etc. as a way of whitewashing or downplaying Israeli crimes – I believe comparing ISRAEL to ‘PALESTINE’ is fair.

        These are the two parties of the conflict. The relationship’s relevance is self-evident.

        SO, within THAT context – as I implied above – it really makes me wonder why you pour over these issues and these comments rather than on the casual and daily abuses by Israel. Accompanied by the casual and daily approval by Zionists – as evidence on MW by the people like the person you supposedly chastised above.

        The moral way to condemn Israel and Zionism is not within the ‘Law’ – because there is no Law with a capital L.

        Especially when it comes to Israel, there is no Law. There is ‘facts on the ground’. There is the Holocaust Industry. The Israel Lobby. The MiC.

        Who cares if the Palestinians are happy with the prisoner release? Do you think that’s what they preferred?

        Israel has thousands of Palestinian prisoners. That’s why those Palestinians get released. They are considered worthless bargaining chips.

        Scratch that, releasing any Palestinian prisoner will create this image of Israel as a benevolent occupier making a tough decision for peace (in spite of settlement expansion) AND provide fodder for the settler-type Zionists as well as even J-Street.

        Both of the latter groups lambasted the release.

        How many of our resident settler-Zionists on MW used the same skepticism when that has-been singer, Something Burdon, was sent ‘threatening emails’?

        ALL of the Zios on MW immediately claimed it was BDS, citing an earlier FRAUD that Paul McCartney was also threatened by BDS.

        Apply your rubric to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. To both anti-Zionists like me and the settler/racist/Jewish-supremacists like hophmi, gilad-g, yrn, Oleg-R, fnsomethingnewtroll.

        Otherwise you’re just like them anyway (which I suspect you are so whatever, not that any of this matters!).

        Take heart tokyobk, your side has won.

        There’s not much we can do when people hate Arabs and Muslims in general and aren’t even interested in Israel/Palestine.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 15, 2013, 7:45 am

        The ‘rule of law’ implies that the law is always just.

        There are plenty of unjust laws in the countries you mentioned (historically and in the present).

        So saying you believe in the ‘rule of law’ is meaningless.

        A lot of the misunderstandings here flow from discussions about the existence of laws, not their particular merits. Here is a commentary on Legal Positivism:

        Legal positivism is the thesis that the existence and content of law depends on social facts and not on its merits. . . . Whether a society has a legal system depends on the presence of certain structures of governance, not on the extent to which it satisfies ideals of justice, democracy, or the rule of law. What laws are in force in that system depends on what social standards its officials recognize as authoritative; for example, legislative enactments, judicial decisions, or social customs. The fact that a policy would be just, wise, efficient, or prudent is never sufficient reason for thinking that it is actually the law, and the fact that it is unjust, unwise, inefficient or imprudent is never sufficient reason for doubting it.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/legal-positivism/

      • Donald
        Donald
        August 15, 2013, 7:53 am

        “So saying you believe in the ‘rule of law’ is meaningless.”

        Cliff, I agree with your basic points , but on tokyobk–yes, he still has a bias in what he chooses to emphasize, but he seems willing to concede more about Israeli crimes than the other people you mention. He’s criticizing fnlevit’s position at the start of this subthread. His talk about “within the law” might be an endorsement of the sort of approach that Hostage takes. In this case he’s emphasizing the Palestinian prisoners who have killed civilians, but he also seems to be saying (I think) that you could use the law to go after Israeli behavior. Try getting the typical liberal Zionist to concede so much. But he’s a little vague–I’d rather he just spell out that there are a lot of Israelis walking around (some in high positions) who ought to be tried for war crimes. I took this comment–

        “I am very aware of all the inequalities you mention and also the lack of symmetry in reactions when Israelis kill and imprison Palestinians.”

        –to be an allusion to that basic unfairness.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 15, 2013, 9:20 am

        Donald,

        To clarify I do have a bias in what I like to talk about and you will see almost all of my comments fall into this narrow range.

        –I am interested in the of Jewish presence in Palestine.
        –I am interested in inner and intra Jewish community politics especially as related to Israel.
        –I am interested in tracing the line between anti-semitism and anti-zionism.

        This is all in itself and because my next big writing project will be on the subject.

        This should not be mistaken as a bias for a Jewish national entity in Palestine, for which I have never once advocated on this site. Not once.

        I do recognize Israel is an existing political and legal entity and sovereign over all historic Palestine, indirectly Gaza, and yes my problem is the misapplication of Israeli law and the bias against half of the people under its sovereignty, not with Israel locking up properly tried and convicted killers of all the various identities. One of the prisoners released axed a holocaust survivor to death. F him and any one who considers him a freedom fighter.

        Grouping me with hardcore and even liberal advocates for Jewish national rights is a reflection of an echo chamber mentality in this (and many ) comment section and the general binary approach to I/P, not of my actual beliefs.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 15, 2013, 9:31 am

        “Take heart tokyobk, your side has won.

        There’s not much we can do when people hate Arabs and Muslims in general and aren’t even interested in Israel/Palestine.”

        My side has not won yet but I actually think we, who believe that all the people in historic Palestine will one day live in freedom and equality regardless of religion, gender and orientation, will win.

        Israel conquered Palestine. That cannot be undone in spite of some of the hallucinations dreamt here. Israel can be transformed, however, by people of good will who are interested in stability over tribe or faction.

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        August 15, 2013, 9:44 am

        Cliff:

        Bringing up other countries is not at all meant to change the subject which I have no problem staying on but rather bringing up the point that all exe siting entities, even North Korea and Iran have a legal system which is varyingly just and unjust in its application. I think North Korea is the most evil country on the planet having watched smuggled videos but I think they have the right to lock up people that steal and rape. I believe the same for Hamas and the Taliban. Do those things make me an apologist for North Korea or an Islamist. I think not.

        It might serve the emotions to call Israel illegitimate but it is meaningless. Conquering a land and people is par for the historical course. Now what? Since Israel has a fairly advanced and often fair (for its full citizens) legal system, it must be forced to apply its laws to all of those under its sovereignty. That is the legitimate struggle in my opinion.

      • Donald
        Donald
        August 15, 2013, 10:40 am

        ” yes my problem is the misapplication of Israeli law and the bias against half of the people under its sovereignty, not with Israel locking up properly tried and convicted killers of all the various identities.”

        That’s fair–the problem as you agree is that they don’t go after all the killers of various identities. Of course, as Hostage and many of us point out, it would mean going after high ranking officials in their own government. That’s also true of the US, which is why high ranking Western war criminals have escaped justice so far.

        I’m not sure why Israel released this particular group. The majority of us cynics (including some liberal Zionists) think Netanyahu did it as a meaningless concession–he can say he did this while still doing what he really wants, which is to continue to expand settlements. Hostage thinks it is to avoid the ICC. Could be both.

      • tree
        tree
        August 15, 2013, 2:40 pm

        I have to disagree with tokyobk’s phrasing there, Donald, particularly “Israel locking up properly tried and convicted killers “.

        I would have thought, being a black man in the US, and aware of the historical discriminatory treatment of blacks arrested for crimes here, that tbk would have been particularly aware that to claim that Israel “properly tried and convicted” these people is an assumption that has little to back it up and a lot to consider it false on its face. All these people were tried in military courts, under harsh military rule, which includes allowing the government to use torture and to deny defendants access to the evidence against them.

        I’d also expect him, as an academic, to have realized that all of the murders occurred around 20 years ago or longer, and assuming that most of the men were convicted shortly after the alleged crimes, this means that they have already served 20 years for those crimes for which they were convicted. The usual sentence for murder in Israel, according to my research, is life imprisonment, which is then commuted to 30 years in prison, with up to 10 years(a third of the sentence) taken off for “good behavior” in prison. Of course this “good behavior” caveat only applies to Israeli citizens, not Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, who only get released as part of these Isreali “good-will gestures”.

        So , to make it plain, the released Palestinian convicts, had they been Israelis, would have been released by now, assuming of course that they even would have been convicted under Israeli civilian rules of law. Instead, Israel makes a big to-do out of what would be a normal occurrence for an Israeli citizen, gets to cloak it as some great “peace-gesture” and at the same time make the implication that all Palestinians are violent, or approve of violence.

        (An example of this Israeli treatment of murderers is the case of Samuel Sheinbein, who committed a heinous murder in the US and then fled to Israel, who refused extradition. He was tried in Israel, sentenced to 24 years in prison, and is eligible for parole in 16 years.)

        ( Another more egregious example is that of Menachem Livni, found guilty of killing 3 Palestinian students in a machine gun attack on the Islamic University, who was sentenced to life, and pardoned after serving less than 7 years. The government is now compensating him for damages he alleges to the Palestinian land he is illegally cultivating, and providing personal IDF protection for him.)

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-jewish-underground-convict-receives-more-than-nis-1-3-million-from-state.premium-1.503357

        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-reservists-guarding-former-jewish-terrorist-is-unjustified-and-a-waste-1.250087

        I also strongly disagree with tbk’s insistence that continuing to love a convicted criminal, even a convicted murderer, is “damning” . Its human nature and no different among Palestinians than Israelis or any other human group.

      • piotr
        piotr
        August 16, 2013, 7:05 pm

        The two issues are related. Abbas is a quisling who needs a fig leaf. Without any, he would have to sue in ICC and engage in similar symbolic but troublesome actions. With a figleaf they can spend 9 months or more on the secret and fictitious peace process.

        And it is clear that GoI had to figure some kind of fig leaf while intensifying the expansion of settlements. Why are so many Zionists doubting that GoI is as Zionist as it should be?

        By the way, one may wonder why nobody contemplated a release some truly innocent Palestinians, like Abu Sisi and many victims of administrative detentions? Surely, GoI had some calculations about it, and is it safe to assume that nothing as impractical as “justice” was considered.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 15, 2013, 5:17 am

        Lastly, it imo is troubling that Israel releases prisoners (some of whom are quite proud of what they did — i.e. not claiming to be wrongly accused) rather than simply stopping construction of settlements which has symbolic and real meaning if there is to be somewhere out there a future Palestinian State. Many were about to be released anyway so it is a kind of crass move.

        This doesn’t have much to do with the settlements. This is being done to keep the Palestinians away from the International Criminal Court for a little while longer. Israel, the United States, and quite a few EU countries have gone out of their way to prevent Palestine from seeking legal remedies through the international courts.

        That short-sighted policy only strengthens the hands of those who argue that the Palestinians have no other choice, but to take the law into their own hands. The people shreying the loudest here are the very ones who won’t bring their own Israeli government officials to justice when they commit war crimes and crimes against humanity too. They wouldn’t dream of joining the only criminal court around, the ICC, which doesn’t recognize these sort of immunity or amnesty deals. Let em squirm, they have no one to blame for this but their own corrupt regime.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail
      August 14, 2013, 6:50 pm

      fnlevit, you sound like one of these students who get paid to post hasbara. In your case, if i was your handler, i would demand my money back, as your witless arguments are feeble, regurgitated nonsense which will not convince anybody that you are either a real person or one with any knowledge. Hasbara fail.

    • amigo
      amigo
      August 14, 2013, 7:27 pm

      “Moderator please post all my comments. They obey all your guiding lines and there is no reason to delay them for so long.”fnlevit

      Suggest you head for J,post.They will lap up your hasbara.

      As to delaying your posts, I seem to recall that your posts need to be checked for plaegerism .

    • just
      just
      August 14, 2013, 9:29 pm

      “Moderator please post all my comments. They obey all your guiding lines and there is no reason to delay them for so long.”

      fnlevit– whaaaaaa! The folks at MW haves lives to tend to. What incredible hubris.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      August 15, 2013, 9:34 am

      fnlevit says: “Yeah, what hypocracy! Calling terrorists “loved ones”! I will remember this and will publisized where I can.”

      I’m sure that Jewish terrorists (Lehi, Irgun and within Palmach, Haganah, IDF and Kahanists) were and are hated by their families.

  4. yrn
    yrn
    August 14, 2013, 5:31 pm

    “it must have been magical being there. all those loved one after so many years.”
    Well they only killed Jewish Civilians.
    For you it’s Magical !

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 14, 2013, 6:23 pm

      “Well they only killed Jewish Civilians.
      For you it’s Magical !”

      You people murder so many Palestinian civilians and destroy their lives and have been doing it for generations; you have to expect retaliation. If any actually innocent people were killed (i.e., people who are actively working for Palestinian freedom from zionist oppression) then that is truely a shame.

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      August 14, 2013, 8:27 pm

      It’s clearly magical for yrn when Israel burns Palestinian children alive with White phosphorus and steals Palestinian land and water for decades.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 14, 2013, 10:13 pm

      I note that you do not say “they only killed civilians”. You say “they only killed Jewish Civilians.” Clearly, you think Jews are more important than other people.

      A few years ago, Saleema got the whole thing into five words :

      “We matter, and you don’t.”

    • amigo
      amigo
      August 15, 2013, 7:08 am

      “it must have been magical being there. all those loved one after so many years.”
      Well they only killed Jewish Civilians.
      For you it’s Magical !y(a)rn

      Yeah and I bet you stood in Tel Aviv with champers in hand watching you most moral army committing war crimes against “Ara Civilians”.

      Oh, maybe I err, you were on duty and killed your quota of Arab Civilians.

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 15, 2013, 7:10 am

        Correction: should read Arab Civilians not Ara.

        Apologies.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      August 15, 2013, 9:37 am

      yrn says: “it must have been magical being there. all those loved one after so many years.”
      Well they only killed Jewish Civilians.
      For you it’s Magical !”

      It’s only magical when the outcome of terrorism, massacres against and expulsion and dispossession of Nonjewish civillians is a Jewish state.

  5. yrn
    yrn
    August 14, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Zannie You will never condemn Palestinians, even if they are cold blooded Jewish Civilian killers.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 14, 2013, 6:25 pm

      What’s cold blooded? Were those killed supporters of the racist Apartheid abomination that the crime of zionist has planted in Palestine? Were they really civilians or did they once wear the criminal uniform of the idf terror squads?

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      August 14, 2013, 8:27 pm

      yrn You will never condemn Israelis, even if they are cold blooded Arab
      Civilian killers.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      August 14, 2013, 9:00 pm

      You will never condemn Palestinians, even if they are cold blooded Jewish Civilian killers.

      I actually do think that people who are guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity on either side of the conflict should be prosecuted, and punished if convicted. I’ve commented on many occasions that the Rome Statute doesn’t recognize agreements on amnesty or immunity and that those are controversial subjects in the field of international criminal law. Maybe you should encourage your government to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC by making an Article 12(3) Declaration, like the Palestinians did?

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      August 15, 2013, 9:43 am

      yrn says: “Zannie You will never condemn Palestinians, even if they are cold blooded Jewish Civilian killers.”

      I would, but would you condem cold blooded Jewish killers who deliberately, recklessly or negligenty harm Palestinian civilians?

  6. just
    just
    August 14, 2013, 9:12 pm

    Why didn’t Israel release some of the far too many children and ‘administrative’ detainees that they have taken in the middle of the night & incarcerated, instead of the ones that they did who they deem/judge as “terrorists/killers”?

    One is left to wonder……….It’s another “game”, I fear.

    Where is Mr. Barghouti???

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    August 15, 2013, 12:02 am

    Allison this is such a clear and heart felt read. Thank you for sharing your first hand views. Had no idea many of these prisoners were soon to be released anyway. Such long periods of times to be separated from your families for simply fighting for your own land and rights

    And the illegal settlements keep expanding…

  8. talknic
    talknic
    August 15, 2013, 1:29 am

    Yrn obviously never visits the IDF Memorial site. It shows more military casualties than civilian.

  9. anthonybellchambers
    anthonybellchambers
    August 15, 2013, 3:21 am

    As Egypt burns and Israel expands its illegal settlements, the threat of a catastrophic war in the Middle East edges ever closer to reality.

    Once the so-called ‘peace talks’ have been deliberately aborted by yet further land grabs in the occupied West Bank, and there are more mass killings in Cairo, the scene will be set for a regional conflict that will likely see the entire Middle East in flames with the addition of devastating fallout from Israel’s nuclear weapons.

    But there will be no winners, just a blackened radiated landscape extending from Libya in the west to Pakistan in the east, covering Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

    And the US and AIPAC will express surprise and bewilderment as the delayed radioactive contamination slowly moves across continents to fall, in rain, on crops and land in Europe, Africa and worldwide.

    And our world will never be the same again. That is the terrifying reality of today’s WMD and their lobbyists.

  10. giladg
    giladg
    August 15, 2013, 7:05 am

    Allison, how come you are so quite about Egypt? Being located so close, why don’t you pop on over and report for Mondoweiss. If you read this website one would never know there is strife over there. Make yourself useful for a change.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      August 15, 2013, 4:14 pm

      @ Giladg, We’ve so far done Mexico, Native Americans, Syria, now you want Egypt. Anything, anything, at all to avoid Israel-Palestine, the reason why we are here.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      August 15, 2013, 5:00 pm

      When all fails and you cannot engage the subject at hand, reach for whataboutery and while at it, throw ridicule onto others.

  11. American
    American
    August 15, 2013, 10:54 am

    ” For many Israelis the release is considered a free pass for those who convicted violent crimes”

    After Israel and the Israelis and the IDF are all convicted for their murders and war crimes then someone might give a damn about the ‘violent crimes’.

    Until then every Israeli killed by a Palestine freedom fighter is just another casualty of the war Zionist Israel started.

    Your Zio whines fall on deaf ears…..may you be treated exactly as you treat others.

  12. just
    just
    August 18, 2013, 5:27 pm

    Your post is filled with personal attacks and LIES.

    It should be moderated out of here, but then again it makes you look incredibly small and definitely incapable of intelligent or honest discourse.

    Israel reaps the fruits of its criminal ways– Israelis are not “victims”, they’ve victimized others for decades now, with no thought at all of changing their course.

    From the about section of this website:

    American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.

    It has four principal aims:

    To publish important developments touching on Israel/Palestine, the American Jewish community and the shifting debate over US foreign policy in a timely fashion.
    To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.
    To foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy.
    To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.

    This blog is co-edited by Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz. Weiss is 56 and lives in New York state. Horowitz is 39 and lives in Atlanta.

    We maintain this blog because of 9/11, Iraq, Gaza, the Nakba, the struggling people of Israel and Palestine, and our Jewish background.

    This site aims to build a diverse community, with posts from many authors. The views of these authors do not necessarily represent the views of Horowitz and Weiss.

    So don’t go attacking people because of your own paranoia or agenda.

    Thanks in advance. Perhaps you need another ‘vacation’ from this site.

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