Negotiations and the Release of Pre-Oslo Prisoners

With negotiations between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel re-commencing over the next nine months, the unsettled question of Palestinian political prisoners returns to the forefront of discussions among politicians.

Israel promising to release prisoners as a “goodwill gesture” towards the Palestinians has become standard procedure since the start of the negotiations in 1993. In line with this practice, just days preceding the return to negotiations, the Israeli cabinet voted to release 104 “pre-Oslo” prisoners in four phases during the negotiations, with the first 26 prisoners to be released on 13 August 2013.

However, historically speaking, this policy of prisoners releases has proven that it is not truly a “goodwill gesture” to build trust during negotiations, but rather is used as a tool by the Israeli government to manipulate the prisoners issues and distract from their core issues and demands. These 104 pre-Oslo prisoners were slated to be released as a pre-condition in previous negotiations that Israel has reneged on. Now, many of them serving more than 25 years in prison, and some of them with their sentences almost completed, as expected to be released in phases over the next year. However, this decision, will be determined by the Israeli government, who will decide the “condition, criteria, dates and phases” of the release, thereby controlling the entire process.

The release of these prisoners does not guarantee the end of Israel’s policies of mass detention and arbitrary arrest, nor does it guarantee the rights of over 5,000 prisoners who are currently detained, including 136 who are held under administrative detention without charge or the right to trial.

Addameer, as a civil society organization dedicated to upholding principles of human rights and international law, finds it necessary to raise concerns about Israel’s unchanged policies towards detention and impunity towards international law that are not addressed by such releases. Re-arrests of released prisoners, continued mass arrests and the policy of phased releases signify the importance of the release of all political prisoners before negotiations as well as an end to Israel detention policies.

Comparative studies of recent peace processes, such as those in South Africa and Northern Ireland, reveal the importance and centrality of prisoner releases to the greater negotiations towards a lasting peace. In a negotiated peace settlement, amnesties are often a necessary condition for putting an end to the conflict. In apartheid South Africa, the release of all political prisoners was a pre-condition before peace talks between the African National Congress and the National Party government. Prisoners often play a central role in post-conflict politics – both during their internment and after their release – and can be instrumental in addressing past grievances and in seeking justice and reconciliation.

The PLO and Israel have not secured this basic and necessary component to resuming negotiations. In fact, although Israel promises to release prisoners in every return to negotiations since Oslo I in 1993, they often renege partially or completely on the agreements, in direct violation of Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties (1969), which affirms that agreements between two party states are binding. Indeed, over 23,000 Palestinians have been released since 1993 as “goodwill measures” during various negotiations and peace talks. However, in that same period, at least 86,000

Palestinians have been arrested, including children, women, disabled persons and university students.

Re-Arrests of Released Prisoners

The prisoners released during these negotiations are not immune to re-arrest and indictment based on their previous sentence. A dangerous provision made in the Israeli cabinets decision to release the prisoners states:

“The State of Israel reserves the right to take any means necessary against any of the released prisoners if they commit any terrorist and hostile activities as well as returning them to serve the remainder of their sentence, as will be decided by the relevant authorities.”

These prisoners are not granted amnesty for their previous convictions by the State of Israel, but instead, their sentence is considered “parole” and they are subject to re-arrest and having the remainder of their previous sentence re-imposed.

It is clear that the Israeli government is referring to Military Order 1651, Article 186, which allows for a special Military Committee to re-arrest released prisoners based on so-called “secret information” and convict them to serve the remainder of their previous sentence. For these pre-Oslo prisoners, most of who have life sentences, the stakes are high if they are re-arrested.

At least 12 prisoners who were re-arrested after their released in the October 2011 prisoner exchange are currently facing the possibility of serving the remainder of their previous sentences. One prisoner, Ayman Sharawna, engaged in a long-term hunger strike due to this policy. He was re-arrested based on secret information, and before being released following his hunger strike faced the possibility of being returned to his previous sentence of 28 years. Ayman Sharawna was forcibly displaced to the Gaza Strip when he was released, instead of being returned to his home in Hebron.

Like Ayman Sharawna, prisoners, especially those released in such deals, face the possibility of being forcibly displaced as a condition of their release. As part of release of the prisoners in the October 2011 exchange, 18 West Bank prisoners, including those from East Jerusalem, were expelled to the Gaza Strip for a period of three years, while an additional 146 were forcibly relocated there on a permanent basis. An additional 41 were deported outside of the oPt. In past deals, individuals who were expelled to the Gaza Strip for short-term periods were not necessarily allowed to return home after completing the agreed upon period.

Mass Arrests

Despite the Israeli government’s attempt at making “goodwill gestures” in negotiations by releasing Palestinian prisoners, these releases have been followed by widespread and mass arrests that increase the numbers held in Israeli jails. Addameer anticipates that the policies of arrest and arbitrary detention will continue throughout this negotiations period and afterwards, as it has in the past.

The most recent prisoner exchange on 18 October 2011 confirmed the release 1,027 prisoners in two phases in exchange for a captured Israeli Occupation Forces soldier. This deal brokered between the Hamas Resistance Movement and the Israeli government, released 477 prisoners in the first phase and 55 in the second phase, including prisoners who had life sentences and had been detained before Oslo. However, within two months of the first phase of the release, between 18 October 2011 and 15 December 2011, Addameer documented nearly 470 arrests across the West Bank, effectively detaining the same amount of Palestinians in prison as before the release. Similarly, Israel released 429 prisoners in 2007 and 770 in 2008 in the framework of the Annapolis peace process, but 4,945 prisoners were arrested in the same period, nearly three times as many as those released.[1]

This policy of mass detention continued even during the first attempt at negotiations during the Oslo process, when the Israeli government verbally agreed to release a number of prisoners and subsequently released 970 in March 1994, all whom had served most of their sentence and not charged with serious offenses. Then, in just two weeks between 15-30 April 1994, 2,700 Palestinians were arrested, and 200 were issued with administrative detention orders and imprisoned without charge or trial.

The lack of policy change during these negotiations allows for Israel to continue its occupation and detain and imprison Palestinians without any accountability to the peace process or international law.

Phased Releases

According to Palestinian officials, the first phase of the prisoner release will begin on 13 August 2013 with 26 prisoners being released, and then in intervals during the negotiations process, contingent on the “progress” made. It is unclear who or what will define “progress.”

A phased prisoners release can be seen as a media tactic to boost the image of the Israeli  government and return to negotiations without the intention of realizing the agreements to release prisoners. The Cairo Agreement in May 1994 provisioned the release or handover of 5,000 prisoners and detainees to the Palestinian Authority within a period of five weeks. However, Israel reneged on this agreement, only releasing 4,450 prisoners, 550 which were handed over to the Palestinian Authority to finish their sentences. During the Wye River Memorandum of 1998, Israel was slated to release 750 political prisoners. Again, Israel reneged on this agreement and only released 250 Palestinian prisoners, with only 100 of them political prisoners. The Israeli authorities often blame the PA for their failure to release the prisoners, claiming that the PA does not fulfill their end of the agreement. This most recent “goodwill gesture” will in no way guarantee the release of the 104 pre-Oslo prisoners.

Furthermore, as exemplified by the first group of 26 prisoners to be released, Israel will not necessarily release all of the pre-Oslo prisoners. For example, although it is widely assumed that all pre-Oslo prisoners should be freed in this most recent deal, the list published by the Israel Prison Service (see below) includes Burham Sbeih who was arrested in 2001.  No prisoners from the 1948 territories or from Jerusalem are included in the first phase of the release, and 9 of the 26 prisoners have served almost the entirety of their sentence and would have been released in the upcoming year. Israel has refused to release prisoners from the 1948 territories in the past, insisting that they are citizens of Israel, and therefore the PLO does not represent them.

Conclusion

The recent agreement to a prisoner release raises several additional questions: Why have marginalized prisoners, such as women, children and the ill, been overlooked in this prisoner’s release? Why have the current hunger strikers, many who are nearing death, not been mentioned?

It is clear that in the most recent prisoners release the prisoners are used as “bargaining chips” by the Israeli government to subdue the Palestinian and international community in order to continue negotiations – and effectively continue the colonization of Palestinian land.

In fact, on the same day that the Israeli government voted to release the 104 pre-Oslo prisoners, demonstrations erupted in Ramallah and Gaza against the return to political negotiations. In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority police, the Palestinian brokers in the negotiations, suppressed the demonstrations, beating dozens of demonstrators and arresting four, three of them from Ramallah Hospital as they were being treated for injuries sustained from the attack.

These trends and incidents call for a new direction in the role of the prisoner’s movement in the negotiations. The Palestinian Authority, instead of settling for the promise of prisoners releases that have been reneged on for over 20 years, must demand a change in policy regarding Palestinian prisoners –the immediate halt to arbitrary detention policies, arrests of young children and the egregious treatment of the Palestinian prisoners, including torture, medical negligence and inhumane living conditions. Without a change in policy, the continued prisoner releases will not bring any justice to the case of the Palestinian political prisoners nor can there be a sustainable, lasting peace.

[1] For a detailed timeline of detentions and releases during the peace process, please see Addameer’s paper “Reaching the No Peace Agreement: The Role of Palestinian Prisoner Releases in Permanent Status Negotiations”

(Source / 12.08.2013)

Prisoner list divides Palestinian officials

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A list of 26 prisoners due to be released by Israel has divided opinion among Palestinian officials, with some lauding the move while others say the shortlist aims to undermine negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe, on Monday said Israel’s decision to release the first group of Palestinian prisoners was an important step for promoting peace.

Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, also welcomed the prisoner release, saying freeing all Palestinian detainees was a key priority.

But a senior Palestinian official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Ma’an that Israel had made a “childish decision” in choosing which prisoners were to be released.

Some prisoners, such as Jameel Abdul Wahab Jamal Al-Natsheh, have only 30 days of their sentence remaining, while two are due to be released in six months and eight others have only a few months remaining to serve.

The fact that so many prisoners on the list will be released shortly anyway was carefully chosen to thwart peace talks, the official said.

Head of the Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies, Foad al-Khafsh, said that the 26 names will disappoint the Palestinian public, and in particular prisoners’ relatives, as the list was not based on seniority.

Although all prisoner releases are joyful occasions, the list is tainted by the fact that no detainees from Jerusalem are due to be freed and most prisoners will be released to Gaza, he added.

In Israel, the decision to free prisoners has angered families of those who killed in assaults.

“This is a day of celebration for terror organizations,” Meir Indor, head of Almagor — a group representing Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks — told AFP on Monday.

Media reports have implied that Israel’s recent announcement for settlement tenders was meant to appease Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners, who oppose the release of prisoners but fervently promote settlement construction.

“It is clear that the Israeli government is deliberately attempting to sabotage US and international efforts to resume negotiations by approving more settlement units three days before the … Palestinian-Israeli meeting,” Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said following the move.

“Israel is attempting to prevent negotiations from taking place on Wednesday.”

But Israel denied the allegations, with a spokesman for Netanyahu saying that since the new construction was designated for blocs, it will change “nothing.”

“The construction decided upon today in Jerusalem and in the settlement blocs are in areas that will remain part of Israel in any possible future peace agreement,” Mark Regev said in a statement.

“This in no way changes the final map of peace. It changes nothing.”

Direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians were resumed in Washington last month, ending a three-year hiatus after painstaking US mediation.

The last talks in 2010 broke down on the issue of settlement building.

(Source / 12.08.2013)

Tunisia bombs Islamist militants in mountain hideouts

(Reuters) – Tunisia on Monday carried out air strikes on Islamist militants holed up in the Mount Chaambi area near the Algerian border, an army source said, stepping up a campaign against radical jihadis under pressure from the secular opposition.

The government, led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, has been grappling with a protest movement whose secular leaders have called for tougher action against Islamist militants they say threaten Tunisia’s fragile young democracy.

Tunisian warplanes bombed caves in and around Mount Chaambi where the military has been trying to track down jihadi fighters since December, witnesses and the army source said.

The operations were carried out in a region where militants ambushed and killed eight soldiers last month in one of the deadliest attacks on Tunisian security forces in decades.

The army source said security forces had killed several militants and captured at least four others in the same region on Sunday. One of the detained men admitted to taking part in the killing of the eight soldiers, local media said.

They said the militant was found in the possession of video footage taken with a mobile phone showing some of the soldiers having their throats slit.

Police said they killed two hardline Islamists in Tunis and arrested six others earlier this month, foiling an attempt to kill a prominent politician in the coastal city of Sousse. Several bombs targeting police were defused.

Tunisia is in the throes of its worst political turmoil since autocratic president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in early 2010 in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings. The Instability has worsened as jihadi militants step up attacks.

Angered by the assassination of two of its leaders and emboldened by last month’s ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president by the military, Tunisia’s opposition is demanding the resignation of the Islamist-led government.

It also wants to dissolve the Constituent Assembly, which is weeks away from finishing a draft constitution and election law.

Opposition secularists aim to announce an alternative “salvation government” next week, a challenge to Ennahda’s coalition that could make it harder to negotiate a political compromise, and have called for a mass rally on Tuesday.

Jilani Hammami, a senior opposition Salvation Front member, said the group had made progress in deciding the line-up of its alternative cabinet and that it would make important announcements during Tuesday’s rally.

Ennahda party chief Rachid Ghannouchi told Reuters last week that it was open to dialogue but that removing Prime Minister Ali Larayedh was out of the question.

Hussein Abassi, head of Tunisia’s powerful union federation, said he have talks with Ghannouchi later on Monday to seek a way out of the political crisis.

The head of the North African state’s transitional parliament suspended the legislature’s work a week ago until the government starts talks with the opposition.

(Source / 12.08.2013)

When Ahmad returns: A Palestinian family waits for the brother who hasn’t been home in more than two decades

With Israel due to release 104 long-serving prisoners, 26 of them this week, many Palestinians are waiting, and wondering about life after prison.

Muna Khalaf sits on on sofa where their mother sat, pining for her imprisoned son to come home.

Muna Khalaf sits on on sofa where their mother sat, pining for her imprisoned son to come home.
Ilene Prusher

Moussa Khalaf, whose older brother, Ahmad, is due to be released as part of the resumption of peace talks.
Ilene Prusher

Tamer Khalaf holds up two recent pictures of his brother, Ahmad, who has been in jail for 21 years.

Ahmad Juma Khalaf’s family has big plans for his homecoming. He was 17 in November 1992 when he was arrested for attempted murder; he was convicted and sentenced the following month. Stirred up by Palestinian sentiment during the first intifada, his family says, he was convicted of stabbing a young Israeli man in the Old City of Jerusalem, although he never confessed to the crime. Now 38, he’s been in prison for almost 21 years. His younger brother Moussa underscores the seeming severity of the sentence: Ahmad has spent more years of his life in prison than out of it.

His family has its theories about why he was given such a long sentence: He still denies his involvement in the attack, making it impossible for him to show contrition or promise never to return to violence. In addition, the offense makes him a convict “with blood on his hands,” according to Israel.

But the Khalaf family was thrilled to learn – through media reports and the many congratulatory calls from friends they have received – that Ahmad is on the list of 104 prisoners Israel has agreed to release in stages, starting this week, as a goodwill gesture to facilitation the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

His family had hoped Ahmad would be home in time for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day feast marking the end of Ramadan that was celebrated this year from August 8-10.That did not happen, nor was he listed among the26 prisoners scheduled for release on Tuesday.

Still, preparations are under way. The family has whitewashed the twisting, roughly-hewn corridor leading to their Old City home, which is tucked into a warren of passages near the Dome of the Rock. They plan to fill the walls with homecoming messages and symbols. Moussa will post pictures of Ahmad and of Palestinian figures Yasser Arafat and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad). He would like to add the Palestinian flag to the décor as well, but is afraid it’ll only cause more trouble.

“I had a discussion with a soldier in the street about it the other day,” says Moussa, a day laborer who during the month-long Ramadan fast helped a charity to distribute free meals for the traditional daily post-fastiftar. “The soldier said it was illegal to put up a Palestinian flag. But I say, if that’s the case, why are you bothering to try to reach a peace agreement with us?”

The prisoner releases, which split the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but were nevertheless approved, are to take place in stages over several months.

It’s a sensitive issue for both sides in the conflict. To many Israelis, particularly families who have lost a loved one to terrorism or a soldier in the line of duty, the thought of setting free Palestinians who are serving prison terms for violent crimes is abhorrent. But to Palestinians it is a natural step in the process of making peace, particularly in light of the fact that all of the prisoners being released are serving time for offenses committed before the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed. It was a time when, in Palestinians’ minds, there was no peace process in sight.

Across the main, high-ceilinged sitting room – which doubles as a bedroom at night, as is clear from the bedding piled high in various crannies and corners – four of Ahmad’s six older sisters are riding out the midday heat. Though they don’t want to be photographed holding Ahmad’s photo – no, no, let Moussa or Tamer do that – they are keen to tell the story of the ordeal they’ve suffered since the day their brother was sentenced to 21.3 years in prison.

“It was extremely hard for us to accept such a long sentence, because he was so young,” says Naemh, the most outspoken of the six sisters who were born before Ahmad came along. Their mother gave birth to nine girls and six boys, but as the firstborn son, Ahmad holds a special place in the family hierarchy.

“Right after he went into jail, she was diagnosed with diabetes,” Naemh continues. “Soon afterward, she went blind.” Their father died of heart problems in 2003, but their mother continued to pine for her eldest son, whom she found it increasingly difficult to visit due to her deteriorating health.

Two months ago, she died. The family tried to get permission for Ahmad, who had served more than 20 years and was near the end of his sentence – he was scheduled for release in March 2014, according to the Israel Prison Service – to visit his mother. The requests were denied, as was the family’s request that Ahmad be allowed to attend the funeral.

“I’m dreading the moment when he comes in the house and sees the reality of coming home and feeling that sadness that since he’s been gone, both our mother and father have gone,” says Naemh. “I can’t get over that he’ll come in and not hug my mother. When we visit him, he says all he wants is to be able to see her again.”

Visiting Ahmad in prison – he’s currently in Ashkelon – has been a gloomy feature of the last 20 years of their life. “We get up very early, waiting hours and hours and go through checks and more checks, just for a quick visit with him,” Naemh explains. “The trip to visit the prisoner is just as torturous for the family as it is for the prisoner.”

While in prison, Ahmad earned a high-school equivalency degree, but studied little else that he could use on the outside. The family doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to find work when he comes out, and they worry about the shock he’ll face at how much the world has changed in the last 21 years.

Prisoners, however, enjoy a special standing in Palestinian society. Their families get small stipends from the Palestinian Authority, and offering a long-serving prisoner a job is considered a great contribution to national rehabilitation. Moreover, marrying a just-released prisoner carries more status than stigma. As such, one young Hebronite, a cousin of Ahmad’s in her late 20s, started writing to him in the past year or so. After an exchange of letters, they decided to get engaged. The family pulled together and bought them a small house in Anata, a village north of Jerusalem, where the couple will live as soon as the wedding can be arranged.

His siblings are sad that after so many years apart, they won’t have Ahmad here in the Old City. But it’s almost impossible to obtain permission for his fiancée, as a resident of the West Bank, to move to Jerusalem. Because very few Palestinians manage to obtain such a residency permit for the purposes of family reunification, the most realistic option was for them to move to the West Bank.

Ahmad’s impending release gives the family a sense of turning the corner. “A lot of people have been killed on both sides, and I think it’s just a waste of life,” Naemh says. “Enough blood has been spilled, and both sides are demoralized. I don’t think there’s freedom for either of us. We’re afraid and they’re afraid.”

There is disagreement in the family, however, about what the peace talks might mean for people in the Old City: Should it stay under Israeli sovereignty or become Palestinian? Says one member of the family: “It doesn’t matter who’s ruling us, frankly, as long as there’s peace.”

Muna, the eldest sister, sits on the couch where her mother always sat. “I would have liked for Ahmad to have been allowed to call us from jail to say that he’s coming home, for the Israelis to call and tell us he’s coming out, so that we could have some peace of mind,” she says. Only the Palestinian Prisoner’s Association in Ramallah confirmed for the family that he’s on the list.

Qaddoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Association, said Ahmad’s treatment was indicative of the discriminatory treatment of Palestinian prisoners compared to their Jewish counterparts in Israeli jails.

“We hear on the radio that Ami Popper, who killed seven people and is serving a life sentence, is allowed to come out of prison to get married for the third time, got to father three children since going to jail and even managed to have a car accident while on vacation with them in Eilat. By comparison, we have a prisoner, Karim Younis, who completed 30 years in jail, and when we ask the Israel Prison Service to give him permission to leave the jail for two hours to go to his father’s funeral, the answer is no.”

Fares adds: “Our achievement, from our point of view, is that there’s a group of prisoners who were suffering, who were left out of all considerations so far, and who are now going home. That has already helped the peace process.”

When Ahmad comes home, his siblings say, they’ll throw a great party for him. All the neighbors will gather and cheer. He’ll go to the muqata in Ramallah for a reception with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Then he’ll go to the cemetery, to visit his parents’ graves. And then the wedding plans will begin.

(Source / 12.08.2013)

UAE water company ‘adopts’ Gaza school

A UAE mineral water company has adopted a pre-school in Gaza.

Masafi has signed a three-year contract with the school as part of the charity Dubai Cares’ Adopt A School programme.

Throughout the three years, Masafi and Dubai Cares will spend Dh160,000 on improving the school’s facilities and training teachers.

The school will provide tuition in language development, Arabic reading, cognitive, emotional and motor skills. It has already enrolled 100 pupils.

“Masafi is very proud to be entering into this initiative with Dubai Cares to help support their ongoing commitment to delivering quality primary education in developing countries,” said Reginald Randall, chief executive of Masafi.

“We are delighted to have adopted a pre-school in Gaza as part of the Adopt A School initiative and are looking forward to seeing the impact this pre-school will have on the lives of enrolled boys and girls over the years ahead,” said Mr Randall. “This is the latest in a series of partnerships we have entered into with Dubai Cares as part of Masafi’s ongoing commitment to supporting valuable community initiatives at a regional level that can have a long-term and sustainable positive impact.”

The sentiment was echoed by Dubai Cares.

“We have launched our Adopt A School initiative to fulfil the philanthropic needs of organisations and individuals looking to strengthen underdeveloped communities while creating long lasting legacies for themselves,” said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive of Dubai Cares.

“Child education is a vital component of every person’s life and we are happy to see leading organisations in the UAE such as Masafi actively involved in such a global social cause. This very support enables us to provide more children in developing countries with access to quality primary education.”

The initiative follows Masafi’s charity auction during Ramadan, where a plain bottle of mineral water fetched Dh32,507.

Masafi said the “name and location of the school cannot be disclosed at this time”.

(Source / 12.08.2013)

US Drones Pound Yemen, But Targets Aren’t All Militants

Two Weeks of US Drone Strikes Kill 49 in Yemen

Everyone who gets killed in a drone strike by the US government in Yemen is officially labeled a “suspect.” That’s just the way Yemeni security forces do things But 12 distinct attacks in the last two weeks have killed 49, including a lot of apparent bystanders.

Indeed, of all the US strikes the administration was only willing to say that “at least 14” of the slain were al-Qaeda militants. That leaves 35 others who the locals say are just random civilians killed in strikes that are hitting civilian areas.

The backlash is growing in intensity as the strikes do, following a similar trend to the anti-US sentiment the strikes fueled across Pakistan, which eventually dominated this year’s election.

One civilian in the town of Jaar, just north of Zinjibar, reported taking his daughter from school to a nearby clinic for a doctor’s appointment. Hellfire missiles destroyed the clinic. He and his children fled back to the school to hide in the basement. The school, was then hit in a followup attack, destroying it and killing his daughter.

Such stories have been a constant feature of drone wars since they began, and where in previous conflicts the US would’ve tried to shrug off the killings as “collateral damage” these days they use an even more convenient term, “suspect.”

(Source / 12.08.2013)

Israel set to exile 14 prisoners to Gaza, release 12 others in PR ‘Goodwill’ stunt

In a move labeled by Israeli government officials as a ‘goodwill’ gesture, but questioned by the families of the over 4,000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as a public relations stunt, just 12 prisoners will be released on Tuesday, with an additional 14 to be exiled to the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli truck (image from alarabiya.net)
Palestinian prisoner in Israeli truck

In the past, such prisoner releases have involved hundreds of imprisoned Palestinians, but this time, the Israeli government has approved just 12 prisoners for full release. An additional 14 Palestinian prisoners will be exiled to the Gaza Strip, unable to return to their families and homes in the West Bank.

Israeli forces engage in daily raids of Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps, abducting sometimes dozens of people each day. So Palestinian prisoner advocacy groups say that the release of a dozen prisoners is rather disingenuous on the Israeli government’s part, since the Israeli military usually abducts that many in a single day.

Despite the low number of prisoners to be released, Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks held a protest to challenge the release of any Palestinian prisoners. They also filed an appeal with the Israeli government committee that approved the release.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had previously stated that the Israeli government had approved the release of 107 Palestinians who have been imprisoned for more than twenty years.

Although most of the Palestinians on the list were imprisoned for killing Israelis, prisoner rights advocates in Palestine point out that Palestinians are often convicted based on circumstantial evidence and without proper legal representation. Many Palestinian prisoners have also been forced to ‘confess’ through the use of torture techniques. The prison advocacy organization Addameer has documented the extensive and routine use of torture in the interrogations of Palestinian prisoners.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahranoth, the prisoners to be released or exiled on Tuesday are the following:

1. Kor Mattawa Hamad Faiz, jailed since ’85, for the murder of Menahem Dadon and attempted murder of Salomon Abukasis.

2. Salah Ibrahim Ahmad Mughdad, jailed since ’93, for the murder of Israel Tenenbaum.

3. Na’anish Naif Abdel Jafar Samir, jailed since ’89, for the murder of Binyamin Meisner.

4. Arshid A. Hamid Yusef Yusef, jailed since ’93, for the murder of Nadal Rabu Ja’ab, Adnan Ajad Dib, Mufid Cana’an, Tawafiq Jaradat and Ibrahim Sa’id Ziwad.

5. Al Haj Othman Amar Mustafa, jailed since ’89, for the murder Steven Frederick Rosenfeld.

6. Maslah Abdallah Salama Salma, jailed since ’93, for the murder of Reuven David.

7. Abu Moussa Salam Ali Atiya, jailed since ’94, for the murder Isaac Rotenberg.

8. Maqlad Mahmoud Zayd Salah, jailed since ’93, for the murder of Yeshayahu Deutsch.

9. Sawalha Bad Almajed Mahmad Mahmad, jailed since ’93 for the murder of Baruch Heisler, and attempted murder of Betty Malka, Shai Cohen, Avishag Cohen.

10. Shaath Azath Shaaban Attaf, jailed since ’93, for being the accessory to the murder of Simcha Levy.

11. Abdel Aal Sa’id Ouda Yusef, jailed since ’94, for throwing explosives, accessory to the murder of Ian Feinberg and Sami Ramadan.

12. Barbakh Faiz Rajab Madhat, jailed since ’94, for the murder of Moshe Beker.

13. Raai Ibrahim Salam Ali, jailed since ’94, for the murder of Moris Eisenstatt.

14. Nashbat Jabar Yusef Mahmad, jailed since ’90, for being an accessory to the murder of Amnon Pomerantz.

15. Mortja Hasin Ganim Samir, jailed since ’93, for abduction, interrogation through torture, and murder of Samir Alsilawi, Khaled Malka, Nasser Aqila, Ali al Zaabot.

16. Sawalha Faz Ahmad Husni, jailed since ’90, for the murder of Heisler Baruch.

17. Ramahi Salah Abdallah Faraj, jailed since ’92, for the murder of Avraham Kinstler.

18. Abu Satta Ahmad Sa’id Aladdin, jailed since 1994, for the murder of David Dadi and Hayim Weizman.

19. Abu Sita Talab Mahmad Ayman, jailed since 1994, for the murder of David Dadi and Hayim Weizman.

20. Mansour Omar Abdel Hafiz Asmat, jailed since 1993, for being an accessory to the murder of Hayim Mizrahi.

21. Asqara Mahmad Ahmad Khaled, jailed in ’91, for the murder of Annie Ley.

22. Janadiya Yusef Radwan Nahad, jailed since ’89, for the murder of Zalman Shlein.

23. Hamadiah Mahmoud Awad Muhammad, jailed since ’89, for the murder of Zalman Shlein.

24. Abdel Nabi A. Wahab Jamal Jamil, jailed since ’92, for the murder of Shmuel Gersh.

25. Ziwad Muhammad Taher Taher, jailed since ’93, for the murder of Avraham Cohen.

26. Sabih Abed Hamed Borhan, jailed since ’01, for the murder of Jamil Muhammad Naim Sabih, Aisha Abdullah Haradin.

(Source / 12.08.2013)

Hoe de Boodschapper van Allah zijn gebed opende

By Marianna Laarif

Wanneer de boodschapper van Allah salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam zijn gebed begon, dan zei hij: ‘Allahoe Akbar’. En hij salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam zei niets anders vooraleer hij salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam dit zei. En hij salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam zei zijn intentie nooit luidop. En hij salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam zei ook niet: ‘Ik verricht dit gebed dat uit vier raka’aatbestaat voor Allah, met mijn gezicht naar de Qiblah als imaam, of volgeling… ‘

En er is geen enkele authentieke noch zwakke overlevering die erop duidt dat hij salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam dit deed (de intentie luidop zeggen). Het is ook niet terug te vinden in de handeling van zijn metgezellen en het werd door niemand van de daarop volgende generatie noch door de vier grote Imaams’ goedgekeurd.

Sommige mensen hebben de woorden van imaam Ash-shaafi’ie verkeerd begrepen toen hij zei: ‘Dit gebed is niet zoals vasten, en men kan dit enkel beginnen met de herdenking van Allah.’ Hieruit begrepen zij dat men de intentie luidop moet zeggen, terwijl hij bedoelde dat men dit gebed niet kan beginnen zonder de openings-takbier te zeggen (dat men luidop ‘Allahoe Akbar’ zegt wanneer men begint met bidden). Hoe zouden wij dit anders moeten begrijpen? Wij kunnen toch niet zeggen dat Imaam Ash-shaafi’ie iets zou goedkeuren wat de Profeet salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam en zijn opvolgers niet hebben verricht?

En als wij iets terug zouden vinden, al was het maar één enkel woord, dat erop duidt dat dit zo moet, dan zouden wij dit aanvaarden, en zouden wij ons hieraan onderwerpen, want er bestaat geen volledigere leiding dan hun leiding, en er is geen soennah, dan de sunnah die zij via de Profeet salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam genomen hebben.

Door: Ibn al-Qayyim al Jawziyyah
B]Bron:[/B] Zaadoel-Ma’aad 1/194 (ingekorte versie)

Israel knows US words on Palestine empty: Paul Larudee

“It is going against what the US has said it wants; but in their experience in Israel is that the United States will not stand in the way and will do nothing to prevent this. So, why shouldn’t they go ahead; they don’t really expect anything to happen as a result.”

Press TV has conducted an interview with Paul Larudee, Free Palestine Movement, from Berkeley, about the issue of Israel building more illegal settlement units on occupied Palestinian lands at a time when the US says it wants a restart of talks between the two sides. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Why would Israel want to go against an allies wishes i.e. the US’ wishes, for a restart of talks by building more settlements?

Larudee Well, it is going against what the US has said it wants; but in their experience in Israel is that the United States will not stand in the way and will do nothing to prevent this. So, why shouldn’t they go ahead; they don’t really expect anything to happen as a result.

Press TV: So then how do these settlement constructions, how will they affect any future talks do you think?

Larudee Well, it’s kind of a silver lining, but it’s terrible for the Palestinians, it means they are losing more land.

But it’s an opportunity to say sorry this breaks the deal and we’re cutting them off because they never should have gone to the talks in the first place and this is an excuse of getting out of them, which they desperately need.

Press TV: It’s also been said that both Israelis and Palestinians aren’t very optimistic going into these talks. What kind of an atmosphere then does that create?

Larudee It creates an atmosphere of repression where the Palestinians are under pressure to give in and the Israelis are not – this is expected.

And the purpose of the talks is not to bring peace; the purpose of the talks is to end up with a situation where the Palestinians can be blamed for not accepting the conditions that are laid down to them. And therefore it’s their fault if the talks fail.

And then Israel can do … what it’s done many times before to send its bombs and its military to do terrible things to the Palestinians and everyone will say, well it’s their own fault.

(Source / 12.08.2013)

EU Refuses to Fund Israel

 

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EU plans to restrict funding of Israeli bodies connected to East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights.  The state of Israel refuses to sign any future agreements acknowledging that Israel lacks sovereignty of regions beyond the ’67 borders.

The new EU guidelines restrict funding and financial investment, including grants, stipends, scholarships, and prizes to Israeli bodies with direct or indirect connection to the continued occupation of Palestinian territories.  The guidelines also require any agreement signed between the EU and Israel to contain a clause stating that settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights are not considered a part of the State of Israel.   The restrictions will take effect on January,1 2014.

Haaretz reported that a diplomatic source present at the Thursday meeting in Tel Aviv stated that Israel would not be able to sign agreements with the EU, and that they “will request additional clarifications from the EU in order to better understand the significance of the guidelines.”

Israel’s Wednesday meeting with EU representatives will go on as planned.  Israel hopes to make clear at the start and end of the meeting that it will sign the present accord on the condition that the EU change the wording of the guidelines, specifically that regarding settlements.

Following the 1967 Six-Day War Israel defines East Jerusalem and most of the Golan Heights as falling within its sovereign borders.  Although the West Bank is Palestinian territory more than 60 percent of the area is controlled by Israel.

In 2010 peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine fell apart due to Israel’s continued expansion of settlements.  Israel’s present day expansion of settlement and denial of ’67 borders continue to indicate to many that Israel is not serious about the current peace negotiations.

(Source / 12.08.2013)