Political prisoners?

In order to keep the peace process alive it has been reported that the Israeli government is willing to release 400 Palestinian prisoners. I was under the impression that the Palestinians we are sending our soldiers to risk life and limb to arrest are terrorists, guilty of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Apparently I was wrong. It seems like our soldiers were simply arresting bargaining chips to be released in order to pay homage to the idea of a peace process.

The other day the British former Member of Parliament Martin Linton wrote an op-ed for the Guardian’s Comment is Free where he referred to all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons as “political prisoners”, he said that:

An international campaign has been launched to free Barghouti and the 4,227 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. It is supported by every party in the Palestinian parliament, with Fatah and Hamas united for once, and by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians.

The blog Cif Watch rightly, (in my mind) took issue with this but I guess the Israeli government just doesn’t see it that way. The Linton uses; 4,227 prisoners includes those guilty of the murders of a young family in Itamar and those guilty of similar crimes against innocent civilians. For the government, it seems, releasing these killers is preferable to other steps it could take.

But the release of prisoners is nothing short of cosmetic. It’s like putting a band aid on a festering wound. You know it’s not designed to heal anything but at least it will cover up the sight of it.

Now the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are quibbling over the number of Palestinians to be released. I have a number for them; 0.

Releasing convicted murderers back into the mix isn’t going to lead to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, quite the opposite in fact. Which is quite handy since no one of any importance is attempting to actually make that peace happen.

Releasing these prisoners is simply telling the Palestinians and the rest of the world that the Palestinians in Israeli prisons really are political prisoners rather than a danger to society.

If the two negotiating teams were really serious the Israelis would have stopped settlement building and delineated settlements to be removed in the future, the Palestinians would have accepted Israel as a Jewish state and given security guarantees.

As it stands this is just a farce. Carry on with the charade boys but you’re not fooling anybody, right or left, up or down. Except perhaps some Americans.

About the Author
Marc Goldberg is the author of Beyond the Green Line, a story his service in the IDF fighting through the al Aqsa Intifada
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