Wednesday, 21 August 2013

What the media won’t tell you about Israel releasing prisoners

Earlier this month, Israel’s cabinet announced their agreement for the release of 104 Palestinian terrorists in order to facilitate the resumption of direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
Last week the first tranche of 26 were freed and once again the BBC has outdone itself in its failure to report what is actually going on. BBC Watch has some pretty comprehensive coverage of this, but the cherry on the cake is this ‘In Pictures’ report which shows image after image of jubilant Palestinian prisoner, celebrating his release in the West Bank, with no context or explanation of his crimes whatsoever.
The mainstream media in general has been somewhat remiss at reporting who ‘the 26’ really are. At best, including no more information than a brief sentence reporting them as ‘long-term political prisoners’.
There should be no mistaking who these people really are. They are not political prisoners, they are a group of individuals who have committed murderous crimes against innocent civilians. Here are just a few examples:
Yusef Irshaid, aged 45, was a Fatah operative from Jenin in the West Bank. In 1992, he took part in the murder of a Druze Israeli citizen, Mufid Cana’an and the murder of three Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel. He’d also planned a car bomb attack in Afula and made attempts to kidnap a soldier. He was sentenced to five life imprisonments.
Another prisoner, Midhat Barbakh, aged 38, was a Popular Front and Fatah operative from the Gaza Strip. He stabbed and killed his employer, Moshe Beker, a citrus grower from Rishon Letzion and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Forty-two year old Atiyeh abu Musa murdered Isaac Rotenberg with an axe on a building site in Bat Yam in March 1993 and Salah Mukled, aged 40, stabbed Yeshayahu Deutsch to death with a knife in the hothouses of Kfar Yam. They too were both sentenced to life imprisonment.
These are just four of the 26 prisoners that have been freed in the name of making peace. The other 22 were convicted for crimes as heinous as stabbing, stoning, lynching, desecration of victims’ bodies and even the murder of a French tourist in Bethlehem.
These prisoners are not being released as a goodwill gesture on the eve of a negotiated settlement. Their release is simply a last ditch attempt to persuade the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table; the final shot to oblige them to even participate in direct talks.
The Palestinians have certainly been steadfast in their refusal to commit to negotiations. In 2010, they waited nine and a half months into a ten month settlement moratorium before agreeing to come to the table. When the tenth month arrived, they promptly refused to continue and hopped on a plane back to the Middle East. Subsequently, they’ve not budged, placing condition after condition in the way of direct talks.
In Israel, prisoner releases have always been the subject of much debate. Many Israelis are dead against it and many more feel that if they considered surely it ought to be for something tangible and significant?
As ‘the 26’ are released, Israelis feel that once again, they make concessions while the Palestinians sit on their hands.
Meanwhile, we wait, imbibe of what the Western media deems fit to tell us, and then wonder why nothing is ever achieved. If only we and our representatives were as armed with the facts as the 26 were armed with weapons.