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In photos: Euphoria as Ramallah greets prisoners’ release

on 28 Comments

(Photo: Allison Deger)

Early this morning 21 Palestinian prisoners released to the West Bank from Israeli prison arrived at the Muqataa, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, where they were greeted by thousands of on-lookers. Crowds began gathering around 9 p.m. when cars piled full of relatives and supporters rallied through the streets of Ramallah before heading to the government compound.

At the Muqataa,  an audio recording of a gun salute initiated hours of national songs played from speakers that lined the parking lot-turned-outdoor celebration hall. Family members held up framed pictures of their incarcerated relatives, bouncing and rejoicing.

Just after 1:30 in the morning Mahmoud Abbas and the prisoners appeared on stage where the president of the Palestinian Authority gave an address. Within minutes Abbas dashed off and the released prisoners were carried through the mass of people to their families where long embraces were exchanged. Mothers with sons, husbands with wives, and children with fathers.

Unlike other political gatherings in the West Bank, the release of prisoners brings crowds that are a cross-section of society. Every economic class and religious background is present, along with flags from rivaling parties mounted on the same posts.


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


(Photo: Allison Deger)


Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

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

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28 Responses

  1. Walid
    October 30, 2013, 8:16 pm

    “… an audio recording of a gun salute ”

    So sad for the oppressed and practically enslaved Palestinian people. Perhaps we should be grateful that Israel did not shut-off their electricity, which would have prevented them from playing the recorded gun salute.

    • miriam6
      October 30, 2013, 9:40 pm

      Walid @;

      One of the victims of the Palestinian prisoners released was a man actively trying to HELP the Palestinian people – he had his throat slit as his reward. At the same time that thousands of Palestinians are celebrating the release of these nihilistic murderers – most ordinary Palestinians have more pressing concerns – according to Amira Hass.

      Gila Molcho takes the opposing side. Her brother, Ian Feinberg, was serving as a lawyer helping the EU support the Gazan economy when three Palestinians, including the security guard at the site, burst into his office and slit his throat.

      Haaretz runs analyses from Ramallah and Gaza on the eve of the release, with Amira Hass reporting on the lack of excitement in Ramallah about the move.
      She writes that Palestinians are instead worried about “the abundance of collective problems that affect every family. For example, the fate of the Palestinian refugees left behind in Syria; Israel’s success in ignoring the international position and continuing the building of settlements…; the dangers from settlers facing harvesters and farmers; the salaries that are never guaranteed to be paid in a given month; the social, political, and economic collapse in East Jerusalem and its detachment from the rest of the West Bank; the blockade on Gaza that has only gotten worse since the Egyptian revolution; and the internal Palestinian political splintering whose end is nowhere near.”

      • Walid
        October 31, 2013, 1:54 am

        Miriam, I didn’t comment on the prisoners themselves since I don’t know what crimes they were convicted of or if they had been fairly tried since what Israel does to Palestinians is seldom fair. Either way, I don’t condone the killing of innocent civilians by either side. I just read how Ian Feinberg was horribly slaughtered allegedly by a Rifat Ali Mohammed Aruki, the security guard and 2 other people. But since in Israel there is nothing public about trials or how they are conducted, it’s safe to assume that some of the convictions are not necessarily fair, so I have no idea where Aruki fits in this story; he could have been simply a scapegoat that Israel used to appease its public of the stir created by the assassination or he could be actually guilty of the murder. With Israel nobody can really get at the truth.

        You didn’t get that I was actually pointing to the pitiful life of the Palestinians having to resort to a recording of celebratory firing for the salute.

        Miriam, do you condone or condemn Israel’s killing of civilian bystanders in its course of extra-judicially assassinating suspected terrorists in their homes or on the streets?

  2. Shuki
    October 30, 2013, 9:15 pm

    Dancing in the street and celebrating the release of convicted murders… just like they did on 9/11. And its the Jews fault that there isn’t a peace deal?

    • Cliff
      October 30, 2013, 9:35 pm

      Who is ‘they’, you racist troll?

      And how do you know that each and every single prisoner is a convicted murderer? Who did they murder?

      The Palestinians are the ones under occupation and colonization and apartheid. Not you. Not ‘Jews’ – and ‘Jews’ are not at fault here. ZIONISTS are.

      But whatever makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself (which isn’t much to begin with, hence why you losers latch onto Zionism).

    • Ellen
      October 30, 2013, 10:32 pm

      Oh brother, dragging that old line out. The Israeli propaganda machine works this like the Everready batteries — it never dies. (I can still hear Netanyahu excitedly sputtering on about dancing Palestinians..)

      So some Palestinians (turns out ir was very few and mostly kids) in a refugee camp were incited to celebrate. As it turns out there was evidence of incitement of this small refugee group. It made good TV and great propaganda.

      The footage did not capture the quiet surrounding scene, nor the cake being offered to participants (many children) to celebrate as ARD reported.

      • thankgodimatheist
        October 31, 2013, 12:14 am

        Let’s hold it a second here. Even if true they did celebrate in 9/11 can we honestly hold it against them? Knowing that for over 65 years the successive US administration have condoned, supported and armed the entity which has almost completely dispossessed them and continues to do so with the implicit and explicit approval. What kind of creatures do we expect this people, the Palestinians, to be? Choir boys or angels incapable of such normal human feelings as resentment, frustration and anger?

      • thankgodimatheist
        October 31, 2013, 12:34 am

        What did the US ever do for the Palestinians except the usual stabs in the back at every turn? Why would any Palestinian see in the US anything but an un enemy who, if not directly and militarily involved, then surely diplomatically, politically and logistically is.

      • LeaNder
        October 31, 2013, 10:20 am

        Very good comment, tgia, the most important aspect–no matter what is correct and what is not–is that it was used as a tool not only for a collective condemnation of Palestinians, but also to adjust Israel carefully collectively on the side of “the good” in the WOT and the Palestinians collectively as “the evil” on the other. But the image somewhat cracked when we realized the high percentage of Israelis supporting an ill conceived “War on Terrorism” against yet another Hitler incarnation, Saddam Hussein, indeed nearly collectively on the Israeli ground.

        If there were also some Palestinians “celebrating” images that have been described this way by Karlheinz Stockhausen,

        Well, what happened there is, of course—now all of you must adjust your brains—the biggest work of art there has ever been.

        so what? We ultimately do not know what may have excited the hi-fiving Israelis that were reportedly celebrating the fall of the twin towers. Why exactly should we consider one of these two reported events as important, since one of them offers the advantage of however created images? The only relevancy it has is in the repetitive patterns of political speech, but that is also precisely what makes it boring.

        You don’t need to be someone who argue a “pictorial turn”. Obviously images are used in politics and by media to create meaning because they have the biggest impact, just as words are used to shape a specific public perception:

        The term ‘ground zero’ famously refers to the cynical killing of thousands of innocent civilians on the 11th of September 2001 in downtown New York. By September 16th 2001, only five days after the attacks on the World Trade Center, ‘ground zero’ was used in every kind of discourse around the world to refer to the site of the destroyed twin towers in lower Manhattan. The origins of this term, however, point somewhere else: First used publicly in a 1946 report on Hiroshima in the New York Times, ‘ground zero’ is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “that part of the ground located immediately under an exploding bomb, especially an atomic one” (See Ray: 51). In his new book, Ray argues that the spontaneous use of the term ‘ground zero’ to name the destroyed complex of the World Trade Center can be ‘read’ as a symptom, as an unconscious acknowledgment of the terror bombings the US committed in Japan in 1945. But “Americans would rather act out Hiroshima than make any effort to critically process it” (Ray: 58). Because working through this problem would necessitate a critique of cherished myths of American ‘moral exceptionalism’.


        A lot of thinking needs to be done, and perhaps is being done in Washington and elsewhere, about the ineptitude of American intelligence and counter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and about what constitutes a smart program of military defense. But the public is not being asked to bear much of the burden of reality. The unanimously applauded, self-congratulatory bromides of a Soviet Party Congress seemed contemptible. The unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy.

        Those in public office have let us know that they consider their task to be a manipulative one: confidence-building and grief management. Politics, the politics of a democracy—which entails disagreement, which promotes candor—has been replaced by psychotherapy. Let’s by all means grieve together. But let’s not be stupid together. A few shreds of historical awareness might help us understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen. “Our country is strong,” we are told again and again. I for one don’t find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that’s not all America has to be.

        —Susan Sontag

        What a pity she won’t able anymore to recount the use of images in the aftermath of 911. RIP, Susan. Her last book was a good start.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 30, 2013, 11:39 pm

      “convicted murders”

      LMAO. “Convicted” by a kangaroo zio court. Completely illegitimate. No zio court “conviction” can overcome the presumption of innocence because the mere fact that the zios are doing the convicting constitutes reasonable doubt.

    • thankgodimatheist
      October 31, 2013, 12:00 am

      They’re freedom fighters not murderers but you wouldn’t know being fed Fox News trash and other lousy israeli propaganda outlets. Now back to your wormhole your job is done.

    • Walid
      October 31, 2013, 2:00 am

      “Dancing in the street and celebrating the release of …”

      Probably in the same euphoric way Israelis celebrated the release of the soldier Shalit that had been taken prisoner while on duty to kill Gazan civilians that would stray too close to their own borders.

    • Taxi
      October 31, 2013, 8:35 am


      I’d say the israelis are the best grave-dancers in the whole world:

    • Hostage
      October 31, 2013, 8:57 am

      Dancing in the street and celebrating the release of convicted murders… just like they did on 9/11.

      Israelis stood on Parash Hill near Sderot and cheered while the IDF went on its rampage during Operation Cast Lead – just like the group of cheering and dancing Israeli Mossad operatives in New Jersey who managed to get themselves arrested after their celebration in Liberty Park on 9/11. They had a get out of jail free card, unlike these Palestinians who have lived under occupation most of their lives and the prisoners who have all served hard time.

      • seafoid
        October 31, 2013, 11:28 am

        “Murderers go free in the State of Israel. Even the most abhorrent of them, those who murdered for pay, those who murdered their own children, their wives, their helpless victims, are released from prison at some point — and that’s a good thing. Nobody declares a day of mourning because of it. Only the victims’ families feel the pain, and even then, not all of them do. Even among them there are noble people who realize that even the cruelest criminal deserves clemency once he has served long years in a prison that’s as harsh as hell.

        But when Palestinian prisoners are freed, including vile murderers, no matter how much time has passed or who they are or what they did, mourning is decreed. Never forgive and never forget — but for a moment we’ve forgotten the original purpose of the prisoner release: to build an atmosphere of trust, to open a new chapter, as in all blood-drenched conflicts that people try to resolve. But Israel doesn’t want that. It’s releasing the prisoners because the U.S. secretary of state has forced it to. It doesn’t even try to put up a pretense of good intentions”

    • merlot
      October 31, 2013, 10:14 am

      I’m an American and was living in Ramallah on 9/11. This idea that Palestinians were dancing in the streets on 9/11 is the worst type of propaganda wrapped up in dehumanizing racism.

      When the first plane hit the towers I was nearing the end of my work day. A colleague came to my office and told me that something had happened in the US. I went into the work conference room where a TV was on and it was there that I watched the second plane hit and the towers fall. I stayed at work for several hours watching events unfold and then walked into downtown Ramallah before walking home.

      There was no celebrating in the streets after the attacks. I only recall sympathy. The streets were strangely silent and TV’s were on in nearly every shop as people followed events. Random people stopped me on the street, asked me where I was from, inquired regarding the safety of my family, and offered their sympathy and condolences. The outpouring of support and kind words will always stick with me. An other American friend was working at Bir Zeit when the attacks happened. The University president came to her office to give his condolences along with flowers. In Ramallah a candle light vigil was organized and held in the Manara, although it was broken up by Israeli soldiers who entered the square during the vigil and fired off tear gas and rubber bullets.

      In response to this comment others have pointed out the Palestinians have reason to be angry at the US, but I have never found that rightful anger extends over into anger at individual American citizens or blindness towards the pain that others suffer when they are attacked. To the contrary, I have always been left speechless by Palestinians ability to show empathy even for those who contribute to their own repression.

      Returning to the release of these prisoners, don’t take celebrations of their release as collective approval of their action. There are too many complex social and political issues wrapped up in this release and accompanying celebrations for such a simplistic analysis to have any meaning.

      • bintbiba
        October 31, 2013, 11:57 am

        All I can say is “Thank you” Merlot.

  3. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    October 30, 2013, 10:01 pm

    I think Miriam and Shuki are right, those Palestinians are trouble no matter where they are. I suggest we send them back to Palestine.

  4. Sherri Munnerlyn
    Sherri Munnerlyn
    October 30, 2013, 10:33 pm

    The thing to keep in mind is not one single Palestinian prisoner has been provided fair trials that meet the requirements intl law and Israel’s treaty obligations demands. The convictions lack any legitimacy. All prisoners are detained unlawfully. Further, the Fourth Geneva Conviction makes it unlawful to detain the occupied population outside of the occupied territories. Most prisoners are held in Israel in explicit violation of The Fourth Geneva Convention.

  5. Obsidian
    October 31, 2013, 12:55 am

    Funny how certain news stories cause Allison to become ‘ objective’. No opinion. No history of who these prisoners are or what they’d done. No victims.

    • Cliff
      October 31, 2013, 4:22 am

      Then tell us.

      • miriam6
        October 31, 2013, 6:08 am

        [email protected];

        Why not read this link which mentions amongst the other victims of the Palestinian prisoners – the murder of Ian Feinberg.
        He was serving as a lawyer for the EU in Gaza on behalf of Gazans when he was murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

      • amigo
        October 31, 2013, 7:50 am

        Miriam, why not try reading this.

        November 25, 1940. In September, 1940, around 3,000 Jewish refugees from Vienna, Prague and Danzig were attempting to reach Palestine. In a convoy of four river steamers, they set sail down the Danube and reached the Romanian port of Tulcea where they transferred to three Greek cargo ships named Atlantic, Pacific and Milos. Conditions on board these three ships were horrendous, reminiscent of Japanese hell-ships later in the war. Eventually the ships reached Palestinian waters, but the British Colonial Office refused them permission to land. It was finally decided to deport the refugees to the island of Mauritius where a special camp was to be built. The three ships were then brought into Haifa harbour where the liner Patria was berthed. The refugees were then embarked on the Patria and as the last passengers from the Atlantic were coming on board, a tremendous explosion ripped the liner apart. The death toll amounted to 267 refugees killed. The explosion was the work of the Jewish underground army, the Haganah, who had meant only to damage the ship to prevent it sailing but had miscalculated the amount of explosives needed to disable the ship. Many say that this was no miscalculation and was deliberate murder of Jews by Jews, in an attempt to influence British immigration policy to Palestine.

        Further your re-education at the following link.

      • amigo
        October 31, 2013, 8:02 am

        Israel gives medals /ribbons to it,s terrorists.

        In 1980, Israel instituted the Lehi ribbon, red, black, grey, pale blue and white, which is awarded to former members of the Lehi underground who wished to carry it, “for military service towards the establishment of the State of Israel”


        Israel adorns it,s terrorists .

        Typical Zionist hypocracy.

        And you too are a hypocrite Miriam.

        Say Miriam , when are you brits going to get the hell out of My country.

      • seafoid
        October 31, 2013, 10:01 am

        But Amigo he was killed helping Palestinians so they are all barbarians and the Israelis are just helping them with the blockade, the phosphorous and the torture and it is intractable . And you all blame the Israelis for the blockade, the phosphorous and the torture but it is God’s will.

    • seafoid
      October 31, 2013, 10:03 am

      Time in jail is punishment enough, Obsidian. Or do CRIMES AGAINST JEWS (whether or not committed, like it hardly matters to the IDF and so few are ever brought to court ) mean the crime is eternally punishable ?

  6. seafoid
    October 31, 2013, 10:26 am

    Prisoner releases are good for the families involved but fairly pointless in the bigger power dynamics picture.
    Abbas has to go to the ICC to save Judaism.

  7. Sherri Munnerlyn
    Sherri Munnerlyn
    November 2, 2013, 7:31 pm

    I was just reading an article in 972 Magazine where it was pointed out the typical time to serve for murder in Israel is 20 years. All of these prisoners have served over 20 years, leading to the conclusion they all deserve release, if we conclude they should have equal rights to Israelis, even assuming they were rightfully convicted (which they were not) of a murder they actually committed. The 972 article was addressing the problem with this prisoner release is that too few prisoners were released.

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