38 thoughts on “Palestinian Prisoners, Shalit Freedom Near – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Many might agree with Richard that Marwan Barghouti should be part of the deal — and I’d add, lifting the siege, stopping assassinations, the USA removing HAMAS from its terrorist list and releasing all prisoners convicted of giving material support to HAMAS — but, returning to Barghouti, is he a Fateh ally or a HAMAS ally or both? anyone know?

  2. On Barghouti: “the preliminary reports suggest that Marwan Barghouti will be among those released. Barghouti is considered one of the key choreographers of the First and Second Intifadas against Israel. His is literally a child of the Fatah party, having served as a co-founder of its youth wing, Shabiba. He’s been influential in Fatah’s politics for years, even from behind Israeli prison bars. Hamas has always demanded Barghouti’s release. And Israel feared doing so would essentially make a hero out of him a la Nelson Mandela. (One a number of occasions, Israeli left-wing activist Uri Avnery referred to him as the Palestinian Mandela.)” http://972mag.com/barghouti-release-likely-bad-news-for-abbas/25014

    1. I don’t know that his release is “bad news for Abbas.” I get the impression that Abbas is done with politics and ready to retire after his term (if there is such a thing for a guy who took power in a coup) ends, he’s outa there. It’s time for a popularly elected leader like Barghouti or someone of that stature.

      1. Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian National Authority with over 60 percent of the vote in 2005. He did not take power in a coup.

        Incidentally, he and Marwan Barghouti were running about even in the polls for that election before Barghouti decided to withdraw his candidacy.

        And also, he is not being released as part of this deal.

        1. His term ended three yrs ago. He should no longer be president. He had the power to organize such elections & declined. He is not the legitimate president of the PA. He is a rump president.

          Barghouti entered the race very late in the process. Barghouti would’ve trounced Abbas then & he’ll trounce him if he’s released fr prison.

          1. Whether or not his term ended three years ago does not alter the fact that he came to power via his being elected in 2005, not by a coup as you wrote.

            Marwan Barghouti actually announced his intention to run for President very early in the process. (He later reversed that decision and then reversed it again twice). The polls that showed him running neck and neck with Abbas took place during the time frame before he had officially registered as a candidate.

            There is no evidence to suggest that he would’ve trounced Abbas and there is certainly no evidence to suggest he would do so if he were released from prison.

          2. Here is an excerpt from a Ha’aretz article at the time with some poll data:

            In a poll conducted by the West Bank’s Bir Zeit University, Barghouti received 35 percent support, compared to 34 percent for Abbas. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, headed by independent pollster Khalil Shekaki, said Abbas had 40 percent support, compared with 38 percent for Barghouti. Only a Palestinian Center for Public Opinion survey run by pollster Nabil Kukali gave Abbas a comfortable 40 percent to 22 percent lead over for Barghouti.

  3. Although I am sad for any human suffering, one has to take into account that Gilad Shalit was not a civilian plucked from his home as he innocently skipped through the meadows. He was a soldier, taken while on duty, by enemy combatants. He then became a pawn to Olmert and then Netanyahu.

    To the Palestinians, he was their bargaining chip for 10,000+ civilian political prisoners. A desperate attempt at equalizing 63 years of brutal oppression. And yet again, he was not an Israeli mother, a child, or anything other than a soldier to the Palestinians, in full uniform, and on duty.

    But that doesn’t fit the narrative of blowing up buses and airplanes.

    By the way, and on a tangent, take a careful look at Gilad’s picture with his fist awkwardly in the air. You will notice that something, probably a military knife of some sort, was photoshopped out of his hand.

    1. PersianAdvocate: Uhm, as a captured enemy combatant, Shalit was entitled to all the human rights that a captured soldier is entitled to under the Geneva Conventions. He never received visits for the Red Cross and the regular communication with his family that he was entitled to. Desperate attempt at equalization? Perhaps. War crime? Maybe. But you’re showing your bias.

      Like when you, for some odd reason, fixated on Gilad’s photo which you thought had been altered in Photoshop. Here is the best version of the original photo that I could find. I use Photoshop on a regular basis and I saw no evidence of photo manipulation, no evidence of a knife, military or otherwise. Though there is a knife in the photo. The one on the plate that was used to viciously attack what looks like an omelet.

      1. I see. This one soldier’s rights should be recognized (in retrospect) but the rights of all Palestinian Arabs can be abrogated instantly and forever by these soldiers, as so oten is the case. Yeah, make a big deal of those nasty “terrorists” who do not even recognize Shalit’s rights as a soldier. Even after 63 years of dispossession and oppression by that uniform, how could they? How uncivilized!

        Cast Lead, on the other hand, was a well-mannered allowable incursion of a modern army against a civilian population. It is the incommensurate nature of your complaint, like so many others, that galls me so. I am reminded of the Israeli’s complaining to Jerusalem about the injuries sustained by their pets because of Gazan rockets. Their pets! Was Cast Lead a response to this outcry? I wonder.

      2. Oh. Ok David. So the gist of your argument is what? Two wrongs make a right? Did I say anything to the effect that I support the abrogation of Palestinian rights? You either support human rights for everyone or you don’t.

          1. Out of interest, why do you find it difficult to fret about him? I have met several Palestinians (mostly from Dheisheh refugee camp) who have either been in Israeli jails themselves or who have relatives currently in jail, including one woman who hasn’t seen her imprisoned son for seven years. She stands out particularly vividly in my mind because of how she looked when she told me about her son’s imprisonment. I have rarely seen a human being look so miserable or so plain exhausted. It was the exhaustion that cut to the heart – that lady has all but given up.

            But thinking about her and the people like her doesn’t compromise my ability to feel concern for the Shalit family – the opposite, in fact. I think once you’ve seen one person in that kind of pain, it’s natural to care about other people who are experiencing a similar thing, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. I am very happy that he is coming home.

            I am also eagerly waiting to find out if any of the Dheisheh families I know will be welcoming relations back. Unlikely, as over five thousand prisoners will remain in the jails after the deal is completed, but I really hope so.

        1. That’s a lot of equivocation there David. My declaration stands: You either support human rights or you don’t. And I don’t see what relevance the terms of the deal have to anything I’ve said, Richard.

          1. This is silly business. I am entirely sympathetic with Shalit and any others imprisoned and mistreated for years…anywhere. I won’t fret much over Shalit because I do not want my sympathy to be abused in support of a political position or regime that is itself reprehensible.

            It is the Holocaust game on a small scale. The horror and sympathy the genocide evokes is used to align people with a political view, i.e. Zionism. So I remind myself of the outrageous treatment of Arabs at the hands of Zionism in an effort to “get real.” I am for human rights and you can have your statement without equivocation.

      3. Yes, because you would hold your hand up in a pose that clearly illustrates your thumb is resting against the end of something in your fist for a picture.

        Your expertise is what you state. As a matter of fact, one can zoom in and see all the smudge and blur lines clearly evident. Right around the edges of the fingers.

        Of course I have a bias against a country that thinks one soldier’s human rights are paramount to 10,000 civilian political prisoner’s. I have no doubt in my mind that Arabs, given their culture, treated their prisoner (guest) MUCH better than a right-wing Israeli would ever treat a regular Arab.

  4. It will help Hamas and it will create a new intifada. More terrorists released, more terrorism released.

    1. Sez you. Bibi Netanyahu says different. Nice to see that you’re so far out on a right wing political limb in an Israeli context.

      What you really mean is that this deal is bad news for the Israeli far right who sees it as capitulating to terror.

      1. Richard, all of a sudden you are a champion of Netanyahu and trust him too?

        It’s bad news for Israel and Israelis. Facts show that a certain percentage of released terrorists return to terror and kill Jews. You should be reading the Arab news. This is a great victory for them.

        1. Will Shalit go back into uniform and push Arabs around? Anyway, the deal is straightforward and could have done any time but for politics. I don’t think Richard is a big Netanyhu fan.

          Just how meaningful in the end is this worrisome terrorist recidivism?

      2. Richard
        I don t mind that the far right think the same thing than me because Hamas think the same. I am not a far righter nor a hamasnick. I think they are right to think to release terrorists help hamas. I fight for that i think right not for the right.

    2. Fortunately, a modern army of tanks and F-16’s will be there to protect the state from this jump in terrorism.

      Or, possibly, Israeli military terrorism could now increase. After all, Shalit will be back! And is he ever angry!

      1. Thanks, first time I’ve been able to laugh about this since last week. Sometimes, I wish the world was like Hollywood as well. Super Shalit will get back into his Merkava and rumble into Gaza to revenge on his captors.

        1. You can just see the comic book cover, the movie poster, even the trailer.

          We need to laugh no matter how grim the situation or how outraged we get. Making fun is the only way I have of staying, well, semi-sane.

  5. It would be great if Marwan Barghouti were included, but I’m not crossing my fingers.

    I have yet to hear what is offered in return for the release of Shalit. I am sure it will be disappointing.

    Has Hamas confirmed the exchange? or are we celebrating on the basis of Israeli statements?

  6. Haaretz “reporter” Barak Ravid is writing that Marwan Barghouti will NOT be released.

    He is actually naming his source, which is surely a first for Ravid: Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen.

        1. I see, Hamas should’ve returned Shalit out of the goodness of it’s heart. Just as Israel shows every day the high value it places on Palestinian lives! Spare us the mock outrage. And most of all, deal with it.

          1. Vova — your math is wrong. We are not talking about commodities for which their is bottomless supply. The deal is relative to the entire inventories. From this view, Hamas gives up its entire inventory in exchange for 1/2 of the Israeli inventory. Now, you’ll say that this is still 2 to 1 exchange rate and I agree. But, if you factor in the opportunity costs incurred by Israeli (who have many times the opportunities to snag a dissident Palestinians, as Elisabeth suggest), the balance is way the other way around.

            Another view (and I find this whole calculus offensive!) is that Shalit is worth so many exchange prisoners because of the huge costs incurred by Israel related not just to Shalit, his training etc., but the defensive apparatus itself of which he is but a small gog in the machine. Retrieving him has the symbolic value of “justifying” these costs for Israelis and allowing further immense state expenditures on things unrelated to the quality of life in Israel, which is apparently unacceptable to most Israelis at this point.

            JUst a thought for you Vova, while you’re calculate how many Israelis can’t make ends meet because of Shalit.

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