Every once in a while Haaretz publishes journalism that is garbage or let’s say that the informant it quotes is peddling garbage. This is true of this report on opposition to the Shalit prisoner deal. Are we to believe the ludicrous notion that the U.S. government would interfere in delicate negotiations between Israel and Hamas over the freedom of one of its soldiers held captive for years? If we’re to believe this unnamed clown, this is the case:
…A senior Israeli official told Army Radio on Wednesday that the U.S. administration is opposed to the emerging understandings between Israel and Hamas surrounding the deal. “The U.S. does not support negotiations with terror organizations,” the official said. “Washington knows that any release of Palestinian prisoners to the West Bank could harm Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and become a victory for Hamas,” he added.
Far be it from me to defend Bibi Netanyahu when he gets into a row with Aipac, but really has Josh Block, Aipac’s chief PR flack, taken leave of his senses? He has the unmitigated chutzpah to diss a right-wing Israeli prime minister in the midst of deliberate negotiations for the release of an IDF soldier held captive for over three years? Yup, here’s what Josh had to say:
The pro-Israel lobby AIPAC also voiced concern over the possible prisoner swap but refrained from explicitly criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, senior AIPAC strategist Josh Block told Army Radio that the Israeli government must find a balance between the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and the protection of Israel’s long-term interests.
Israel is striking a deal with Hamas while it should be negotiating peace with the Palestinian Authority, Block said, adding that he hoped that Israel would be able to balance between the two.
Because Aipac despises Hamas the American Jewish group would tell Israel’s government not to negotiate to free Gilad Shalit? And if Josh Block or a “senior Israeli official” or the “U.S. administration” is so concerned about a prisoner swap hurting Mahmoud Abbas why don’t they just tell Abbas to free Shalit. If he can’t, who else does Israel negotiate with?
if the U.S can interfere in the Gaza civil war, supporting Dahlan, it can interfere in this deal, garbage indeed, but not ludicrous.
you can defend Bibi if you agree with him, just like aipac can criticise him, it’s not chutzpah eitherway, aren’t you against undemocratic censorship?
the rightists in Israel , and i guess aipac as well, claim you don’t negotiate with terrorists, they support increasing pressure on Hamas and Gaza, if not getting Gilad back than at least prevent the next hostage deal.
First of all, Gilad Shalit is not a kidnapped Israeli, he is a prisoner of war. Thus, he is not a hostage, unless you want to call some of the thousands of uncharged Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons hostages as well.
I would not be surprised if Aipac seriously is trying to manipulate the deal. After all, their support money comes from right wing Likuds in Israel, does it not? I think Aipac will assert all influence on the White House to intervene and stop the negotiations with Hamas simply it is more important for the Likudniks to maintain the status quo re: Hamas than it is to open up any doorways to a future dialogue. Besides, making sure Hamas remains classified as a “terrorist organization” will ensure that it remains marginalized politically, economically, and in the world.
So many Zionists said to me that they were sure Gilad Shalit was dead; imagine their surprise at seeing the video showing him alive, well, and in apparent good health. So much for the supposed inhumanity of this “terrorist organization.” Shalit is probably receiving better treatment than that given to Palestinians in Israeli jails.
Palestinians in Israel’s jails get red cross visits, they get visits from family members, they get media interviews, they get university classes, they also get detention without trials and tortured, Gilad maybe is better treated, but don’t count on it.
you saw the Hamas rally where an actor played gilad? the humanity…
the day Gilad was prisoned Israel got a ransom offer from Hamas, the point of his capturing was exchanging prisoners, this isn’t the case of most Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons.
Richard Silverstein says
You know, that’s even bad fiction. But as non-fiction it’s beyond preposterous.
Marwan Bargouthi gave a interview to Al Hayat this week.
Samir Kuntar got a degree while serving time in Israel.
there are weekly visits by the red cross and family members, youre ignorance is bliss.
Not all prisoners receive Red Cross visits. Israel, like the US, keeps certain prisoners in “black prisons” at least figuratively, and these people have effectively been disappeared.
Israel has about 400 juveniles in its jails, in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
And you are a fool indeed if you think Israel did not agree to have Marwan Barghouti interviewed because it needs a popular Fatah leader out there to prop up the PA. It was not humanitarianism; it was politics.
In the video of Shalit, he did not look tortured, frightened, or terrorized. Harming him in any way would only bring the skies down on Gaza, making Operation Cast Lead look like a friendly disagreement. Hamas is not so foolish as to injure or mistreat this young man; it would not be in their own best interest.
And the ransom has always been a prisoner swap, which is par for the course in prisoner-of-war situations. Israel’s self-perception of perpetual victimhood is what makes Shalit a kidnap victim.
Richard Silverstein says
ONE Palestinian prisoner in whose interest it is for Israel to allow to give such interviews is able to speak to the media & all of a sudden all Palestinians have access to the media. Gimme a break. As for a degree, I have no idea where you heard this & whether there’s any truth to it. But I assure you Israel has no interest in promoting the educational opportunities for its Palestinian prisoners.
I would like to see you prove there are weekly visits by anyone to Palestinian prisoners. Your simply claiming it is so is far fr. actually making it so.
Rafi, you can certainly be depended upon to be virtually completely oblivious to reality. I guess you are unaware of the Israeli practice of preventing Red Cross and family visits to detainees by, among other things, moving the detainees from one facility to another so that even in the rare event a Red Cross or family visit is actually scheduled when the visitors show up they find that the detainee has mysteriously disappeared, and no one seems to be able to figure out where they are. And that includes children prisoners, some of them very, very young.
As for Samir Kuntar getting a degree while imprisoned in Israel, he was a 17 year old boy at the time of his imprisonment in 1979, and he and his representatives fought for around 15 years before he was allowed to continue his education by correspondence. There is also good reason to believe that the charges against Samir Kuntar were trumped up.
“[Gilad Shalit] is not a hostage, unless you want to call some of the thousands of uncharged Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons hostages as well.”
In fact, hundreds if not thousands of those, as well as many of the Lebanese prisoners held for years and years by Israel are by definition, and sometimes by Israel’s own admission, hostages. Israel has not made much of a secret of its common practice of taking civilians as hostages in order to use them as “bargaining chips” to obtain some political concession or other – a clear war crime. Also very well-known is Israel’s habit of imprisoning the relatives, including but not limited to wives, elderly parents, and young children, of “wanted persons” in order to induce them to turn themselves in – another war crime, which by the way the United States has also used quite generously.
Rafi, perhaps you can clarify something for me. What are the grounds for imprisonment of the Palestinians? Are the charges and the court proceedings public information?
My understanding is that there is a considerable number of Palestinians in prison because of what I would consider ‘political’ reasons, a number which includes men, women and children, and appears large in comparison to the total population of the Israel-Palestine region.
I would appreciate suggestions on where to find information regarding the number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, the reasons why they are incarcerated, and the judicial process which governs the indictment, trial and incarceration of both non-citizen and citizen Palestinians by the State of Israel.
the grounds for imprisonment varies, some are arrested during attacks, like Kuntar, some are arrested after compiling evidence like Marwan, some are arrested for ‘political’ reasons like Dirani who was snatched from Lebanon to further the release of Ron Arad or the Hamas elected officials who were arrested following the 06 election to give Fatah a majority in the parlament in Ramallah.
Israel set up military tribunals for all of the above, i have been present in them, i think the convinction rate is about 100%, many of the cases involve ‘secret’ evidence that even the judge can’t see but that doesn’t stop him from convincting.
there’s also an ‘administrive detention’ that skip the niceties of a trial, a detention from now till further notice.
the number of Palestinians who saw the inside of Israel’s jail cells is half a million, which is a shocking number, there are nightly arrests of about 10-15 West Bankers for security reasons, there are also releases, the current number of prisoners is around 10K.
I personally guarded family members of detainees when they visited prisoners, one of the Shalit demonstrations happened inside a Israeli Jail when a bus of visitors from the West Bank came rolling, Gazans visitings rights were taken as part of the siege.
Israel provide prisoners classes in the Israel Open University, and the red cross and other NGOs monitor the facilities. for more information you can check the Red Cross, Be’tzelem, and so forth.
Richard Silverstein says
This comment is a lot more balanced & supported than yr previous ones. I’m glad to see that you can admit some of the problems with this astronomical rate of adminstrative detention & the methods Israel uses to put away these prisoners.
I agree. Thank you for mentioning the fact that Gaza detainees cannot have visitors from Gaza. Not everyone is aware that Gazans cannot get out of Gaza without it being a life and death situation (and many times, not even then).
I wonder if some of the prisoners under negotiations for release are Hamas’ parliament.
Marwan Barghouti is undeniably a political prisoner.
RE: “Because Aipac despises Hamas the American Jewish group would tell Israel’s government not to negotiate to free Gilad Shalit?” – R Silverstein
MY COMMENT: Apparently AIPAC is becoming a ‘virtual nation-state’ with it’s very own Foreign Ministry!
FROM MJ ROSENBERG, 11/18/09:
…AIPAC actually works closely with Hindu religious parties in the Indian government to teach them how to lobby effectively on Kashmir and the rest of the Hindu nationalist agenda. In fact, the Israel lobby trained the Indians on how to lobby effectively. LINK – http://www.aipac.org/Publications/index_2688.asp
In fact, one can argue that the Israel lobby is misnamed. It is barely about Israel anymore (except at its foundation). It is all about contempt for Muslims, the same contempt that is at the root of neoconservatism.
Its current goal is, of course, confronting Iran, unless — as I believe he will — Obama pulls off a deal with Iran that thwarts efforts to either sanction or bomb the Iranian people.
PS. Question for AIPAC. Is it really “good for the Jews” to make the entire Muslim world their enemies? Do you even think about these things when you decide to add the struggle over Kashmir to the list of issues on which you decide to confront Islam? Of course, you don’t. The concept “good for the Jews” is as alien to AIPAC as “good for the United States” or, in fact, “good for Israel.” The only question asked is whether it’s good for AIPAC. Judging from its fabulous new eight story headquarters, it is!
SOURCE – http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/11/18/is_islam_uniquely_violent/
Thank you, all.
Military tribunals. No public access to information from government sources about charges, trial proceedings, sentencing, incarceration or treatment of citizen and non-citizen Palestinians imprisoned by the State of Israel.
Imprisonment of half a million people, which includes men, women and children, among them those elected by Palestinians to serve as representative members of their government, and there is no data about them available to the public from the State of Israel.
Most of the Palestinians imprisoned by Israel in the OPT are so-called “security” detainees, who are never charged or tried. They can be held for up to six months without having charges brought against them or knowing why they are imprisoned, and at the end of the six month period the Israeli government can, if it so chooses, renew the detention for another six months without providing any reason or justification. In this way thousands upon thousands of Palestinians have been held in prison for years and years without ever being charged with anything, and without knowing why they are in prison, when they will be released, or what they can do to earn release.
It is fascism, which is breathtakingly ironic. And illustrative of what happens within a society which lives in perpetual fear and self-induced victimhood. In fact, the victim becomes the oppressor.