The UN’s Ban Ki-Moon cares about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails:
9 May 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of averting any further deterioration in the condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, and urged everyone concerned to reach a solution to their plight without delay.
“The Secretary-General continues to follow with concern the ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, in particular those held in what is known as administrative detention,” according to information provided by his spokesperson.
“He stresses the importance of averting any further deterioration in their condition,” the spokesperson added. “He reiterates that those detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, or released without delay.”
More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike two weeks ago, on 17 April – Palestinian Prisoners Day – to protest against unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention and bad prison conditions, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).
Here are some things that Moon doesn’t mention:
According to Ofir Gendleman, PM Netanyahu’s Arab media spokesperson, only six of the more than 1500 prisoners who are striking are being held in administrative detention. All of the rest are convicted terrorists (there are a total of about 4,500 Palestinians imprisoned for terror-related activity, and of these around 300 are currently in administrative detention, according to ‘rights groups’).
Arnold and Frimet Roth, whose 15-year old daughter Malki was murdered in 2001 by a bomb built by one of the striking terrorists (Abdullah Barghouti, who has said that he “feels bad that [he] killed only 66 Jews”), provide some more information:
The two who began hunger-striking in March are men called Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahlah who are administrative detainees, held so far for nine months and 22 months respectively. Their petition came before the High Court of Justice on Monday and was heard and rejected. The court pointed to the ongoing ties of the petitioners to terrorist funding and terrorism and that they are a clear and immediate security risk to Israeli citizens. It added (which is also significant) that the Israel Prison Service is meeting or exceeding the standards required by international law regarding prisoner treatment already.
Diab and Halahlah are in fact leaders in Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The angry voices are demanding that we think of them as unjustly shunted off to prison for the equivalent of failing to pay for a television license. The media and the ranks of ‘activist’ NGOs are currently filled with such voices.
Of the other strikers, almost all were charged, tried and convicted for the most serious offenses you can think of. Hundreds are in prison for murder. Quite a number of them are unrepentant multiple murderers.
You will recall that over 1000 prisoners, including some multiple murderers, were released in the ‘exchange’ (I call it a ‘jailbreak’) for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of the ones that are left were not part of the deal because they were considered more dangerous or because their crimes were more vicious.
Among the leaders of the strike are these (according to Israeli government sources):
- Abbas a-Sayyid – Senior Hamas activist. He was sentenced to 35 life sentences for his role in the attack at the “Park Hotel” in Netanya on Passover eve in 2002 [30 dead, 140 injured].
- Muhanned Sharrim – Senior Hamas activist. He was sentenced to 29 life sentences for his involvement in the attack at the “Park Hotel”.
- Jamal al-Hur – Hamas activist who was sentenced to five life sentences for his involvement in terrorist attacks and murders. He was responsible for planning the attack at Café Apropo in Tel Aviv (1997) [3 dead, 48 injured].
- Wajdi Joda – Senior activist in the ‘Democratic Front’. He was involved in the suicide attack in Geha interchange (2003) [4 dead, 16 injured].
Just your average ‘political prisoners’, for whom the hearts of numerous ‘human rights’ activists are bleeding.
Finally, I want to discuss the ‘administrative detention’ provision under which 6 of the 1500 strikers are being held, since it is being compared to the Soviet Gulag and worse by the prisoners’ supporters. Administrative detention is used when an individual is deemed to be an immediate threat and where a public charge sheet would have to reveal information about sources or otherwise compromise security. NGO Monitor explains,
Most NGO statements omit the fact that administrative detention is a common procedure used by democratic and rights-respecting states around the world in security-related cases, including the US and the UK. Israel’s detention law meets and often exceeds the due process standards required by criminal procedure and human rights law [Esp. including the 4th Geneva Convention -- ed.]
Contrary to the claims of NGOs, it is not true that administrative detention is “without charge.” The administrative detention laws require that the detainee be brought before a judge within a short period of time and any detention must be based upon credible evidence. All detainees have the right to challenge their detention to the Israeli Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice.
The release of all Palestinian Arabs imprisoned for terror-related crimes is one of the primary goals of all factions of the Palestinian movement. From an ideological and (in the case of Hamas, etc.) religious point of view, all such prisoners are ‘political’, and there is no legitimate Jewish authority anywhere in Palestine.
The truth is that these prisoners belong where they are. They are entirely responsible for their ‘plight’, and they can end it whenever they choose.